Frequently Used Terms


Ablation: Destruction of diseased tissue, usually through heating or freezing

Cryoablation: The controlled freezing of tissue, usually to destroy cancerous cells

CT scan: Diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to show detailed images of any part of the body, including bones, muscles, fat and organs

Extracorporeal: Outside the body

Immunotherapy: Treatment to stimulate the immune system to fight infection and disease

Laparoscopic: Procedure that uses a small fiberoptic instrument ( laparoscope), inserted through small incisions to provide an enhanced view of the internal organs and guide surgery inside the abdomen

Needle aspiration: Procedure that removes fluid from a cyst using a long, hollow needle

Neurovascular bundle: Pelvic nerves traveling next to the prostate that are responsible for erectile function.

Nuclear renal imaging: Diagnostic procedure that uses a mildly radioactive solution injected into the body and X-rays to monitor its progress through the kidneys; overall radiation dose is tiny

Percutaneous: Procedure performed through tiny incisions with the guidance of X-ray images

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA): A protein made only by the prostate gland; high blood levels may indicate prostate cancer

Radioablation (radiosurgery): Procedure that uses high-intensity radiation beams to kill cancerous tumors without damaging surrounding normal tissue

Sclerotherapy (for kidney cysts): Procedure in which a chemical (e.g. ethanol) is injected into a cyst to cause inflammation; can reduce the chance that the cyst will recur

Seminal vesicles: Pouch-like glands attached to the prostate that produce fluid for semen

Stereotactic: The use of a three-dimensional coordinate system to locate small targets inside the body, specifically used for targeting radioablation

Ureter: Either of the two small tubes that carry urine away from the kidney to the bladder

Ureteropelvic junction: The region where the ureter enters the kidney

Ureteral stent: A tube inserted into the ureter to aid in urinary drainage from the kidney

Urethra: Channel that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body; also the channel through which semen is ejaculated