Tackling The Veterinary Terminology: Suffixes (-tomy)

Remember the Spelling Bee? Big words are easier to tackle when you understand how they're put together. Veterinary terms are composed in the same way. Just like with other words, the main parts of a veterinary term are a prefix, a root, and a suffix. The difference is that they typically come more directly from Greek or Latin.

The suffix is the bit that will tell you about what procedure, condition, disease or disorder you're dealing with.
-tomy [təmi] from Greek - cutting, incision

Note, that even the word anatomy has this suffix. That is because at the time it was established, it relied heavily on dissection of things.

When you hear this suffix, it means they're going to cut something.

The most common examples you might run into are surgeries to repair cruciate ligament injuries: Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO)  or Triple Tibial Osteotomy (TTO). Osteo meaning bone, -tomy meaning cutting; surgical cutting of a bone.

Another example would be a Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO),  one of the surgeries for hip dysplasia.

Laparotomy stands for a surgical procedure involving opening of the abdominal cavity and examination of the abdominal organs, laparo meaning abdominal wall. In other words, cutting the belly open, exploratory surgery of the abdomen, and so on.


Related articles:
Veterinary Suffixes (-itis)
Veterinary Suffixes (-oma) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-pathy)  
Veterinary Suffixes (-osis) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-iasis)