Medical Equipment Glossary

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abdominoplasty

Commonly referred to as a “tummy tuck,” an abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure performed to flatten the abdomen by removing extra fat and skin, and tightening the muscles located in the abdominal wall.

Adson tissue forceps

A thumb forceps used for grasping skin layer during wound closure. Also sometimes called “mouse-tooth forceps" because of its serrated tips.

Allis forceps

Used for grasping tissue. Tips can be straight or angled.

ambu bag

Also known as a bag valve mask or BVM. It is a hand-held device which is used to provide ventilation to a patient who is not breathing or who is breathing inadequately. After it is squeezed, the bag is self-inflating. A BVM is a normal part of a resuscitation kit for trained professionals. It is commonly used by ambulance crews and hospitals, and is an essential part of a crash cart. It is also extensively used in extensively in the operating room to ventilate an anesthetized patient in the period of time before a mechanical ventilator is attached.

amplifiers

Electronic devices that increase the strength of an input signal, or apparatus for increasing the magnification of a microscope.

amputation

Amputation is a surgical procedure involving the removal of all or part of a limb of the body. Amputation is generally performed to control pain or a disease process in the affected limb such as gangrene or a malignancy.

anesthesia


Medications which block pain and other sensations, sometimes rendering the patient unconscious, for the performance of surgical procedures. Levels of anesthesia can be general, regional or local.
General anesthetic puts a patient to sleep. Local anesthetic causes loss of feeling in a part of the body such as a a tooth or an area of skin without affecting consciousness. Regional anesthetic numbs a larger part of the body with affecting consciousness. Conduction anesthetic (often used in procedures such as a C-Section) encompasses both local and regional anesthetic techniques, allowing surgical procedures to be done without significant pain. Also spelled anaesthesia. 

anesthesia machine

Integrated anesthesia delivery system, which includes the supply and control of anesthesia gas, a breathing and ventilation system, and a scavenging system for dispensing and delivering anesthetic gases and vapors into a breathing system. 

anesthesiologist


A medical doctor who administers anesthesia to alleviate pain and suppress consciousness, as well as monitor and support life functions during surgery. Among other specialties, anesthesiologists can also provide diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain, critical or intensive care medicine, and can administer and monitor epidural anesthesia in child labor and delivery. 

anesthetic agent

A drug, usually in vaporized form, which is used to reduce or abolish the sensation of pain, consciousness or muscle activity. Examples of anesthesia agents are halothane, enflurane, isoflurane, sevoflurane, and desflurane. 

anesthetic gas scavenging System (AGS-System)

Connected to the exhaust port(s) of an anesthesia machine, this system conveys expired and/or excess anesthesia gases to an appropriate place of discharge. 

anesthetic vaporizer

A medical device which is used to convert the anesthetic agent from a liquid to a vapor.

aneurysm

An aneurysm is a medical term for a blood vessel abnormality characterized by a weakening of the wall of an artery. This abnormality leads to a progressive “ballooning” of the vessel wall, which forms a sac filled with blood. An aneurysm can occur in many arteries in the body. Those which occur in the blood vessels of the head which supply blood to the brain are known as cerebral aneurysms.

anoscope

A small medical viewing scope which is inserted into the anus to allow for a visualization of the anus and the lower portion of the rectum. Commonly used to identify abnormalities such as inflammation, hemorrhoids, or tumors.

anterior & posterior (A&P) repair

The repair of a cystocele (anterior) or rectocele (posterior). See the related terms Anterior Repair and Posterior Repair.

anterior repair

The repair of a cystocele, which is a herniation of the bladder wall into the vagina, which sometimes occurs after childbirth.

APGAR

APGAR is an acronym for a test given to evaluate the physical condition of newborns. Apgar stands for Activity, Pulse, Grimace (also called “reflex irritability”), Appearance and Respiration. The test is given 1 minute after birth and five minutes after birth. If the first two tests scores are low, the baby may be tested again 10 minutes after birth. Infant warmers can include APGAR timers to alert staff that it’s time for the test. Five factors are used to evaluate the baby's condition and each factor is scored on a scale of 0 to 2, with 2 being the best score.

arrhythmia

Irregularity of the heart rhythm or an abnormality in the pattern or time of the heartbeat.

arthroplasty

A generic term for any joint surgery designed to restore joint function. In many cases, a prosthetic device is used to replace the native joint totally or partially. A total arthroplasty involves prosthetic replacement of both sides of a joint, whereas a hemiarthroplasty involves replacement of only one side of a joint, such as a hip bipolar prosthesis.

aspirator

A medical device instrument for evacuating fluid by suction. A common use of an anspirator is the tube-like straw which a dentist places into the patient’s mouth to evacuate the saliva.

audiometer

An electronic device that produces acoustic stimuli for the measurement of hearing. The device measures the hearing for pure tone of frequencies, generally varying from 125-8000 Hz, and speech (recorded in terms of decibels). 

autoclave

Also known as a sterilizer, this closed device exposes items to steam at a high pressure in order to decontaminate and sterizie reusable materials. Items to be sterilized must be made of metal or other high-temperature-resistant materials. Autoclaves are commonly used to sterilize reusable medical equipment, surgical equipment, dental equipment, tattoo needles, hair-removal instruments, and other commonly uses devices to prevent the spread of contaminants from one patient to another.

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