Glossary of Terms

Medical terms definitions


Glossary of Terms

Abduction: Movement of the limbs away from the body, such as lifting the arm out to the side
Adduction: Movement of the limbs toward the body, such as bringing the arm close to the body from the side
Anterior: Front
Apraxia: A child with apraxia is often unaware that they are carrying or using their affected limb for a particular task
Avulsion: Tearing away; the nerve root being torn out of the spinal cord is the most severe type of nerve injury
Atrophy: A wasting away, in the size of a cell, tissue, organ or part
Axilla: under the arm; the armpit
Bilateral: Both sides
Brachial Plexus: A network of 5 nerves that extend from the spinal column in the neck down to the fingers
Cervical: The neck area
Clavicle: Collarbone
Contracture: A permanent shortening (as of muscle tendons or scar tissue that produces deformity or distortion)
Electromyography (EMG): A test in which a small needle is inserted, to record electrical activity of the muscles
Extension: The movement of two elements of any jointed body part are directed away from each other (straightened)
Extensor: A muscle that extends or straightens a body part, such as a finger or an arm
Flaccid: Weak, lacking firmness, muscle tone and resilience
Flexion: Moving a joint inward to bring it closer to the body (bend)
Flexor: A muscle that bends or flexes any body part, such as the arm or hand
Horner's Syndrome: A nerve condition which involves a drooping eyelid (ptosis), constricted pupil, enophthalmos (sunken eyeball) and lack of sweating on one side of the face
Hypotonia: low muscle tone, often involving reduced muscle strength
Multidisciplinary Team: a team of medical professionals that work together to support the patient; a multidisciplinary team for brachial plexus specialization would include a pediatric neurologist, rehabilitation physician, specialized and experienced surgeons, OT/PT
Neurologist: A physician who diagnoses and treats disorders of the nervous system
Neurolysis: Surgical removal or part of a neuroma
Neuroma: A benign tumor composed of nerve cells, or scar tissue that forms when there is nerve damage
Nerve grafting: When the gap between nerve ends is so large that it is not possible to have a tension-free repair using the end-to-end techniques or with nerve grafts
Neurotization: This is used generally in those cases where there is an avulsion; donor nerves are used for the repair
Neurapraxia: The nerve has been stretched and damaged but not torn
Occupational Therapist (OT): A health care professional who provides services designed to restore self-care, work, and leisure skills to patients who have specific performance incapacities or deficits that reduce their abilities to cope with the tasks of everyday living
Physiatrist: A physician specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation; help restore optimal function to people with injuries to the muscles, bones, tissues and nervous system
Physical Therapist (PT): A rehabilitation professional who promotes optimal health and functional independence through the application of scientific principles to prevent, identify, assess, correct, or alleviate acute or chronic movement dysfunction, physical disability, or pain
Posterior: Back
Proximal: Closest
Range of motion (ROM): The range through which a joint can be moved, usually its range of flexion and extension; Active range of motion (AROM) is the active movement of the muscle and Passive range of motion (PROM) is the motion range of a joint through manual assistance
Rupture: Torn nerve or tissue
Supine: Lying on the back
Torticollis: A contracted state of the cervical muscles, producing twisting of the neck and an unnatural position of the head



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