Tackling The Veterinary Terminology: Suffixes (-ectomy)

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.
-ectomy [ˈɛktəmi] from Greek - excision, resection

Also surgical procedures, words ending with -ectomy indicate that something is not only going to be cut, but removed. Pretty straightforward stuff for a change. The root word, then, stands for the part that is going to be removed.

The most common examples are spay and neuter surgeries.

The medical term for traditional spay surgery is ovariohysterectomy (OVH). This means that both uterus and ovaries are removed. There is actually a new, and in my opinion better, procedure out there now - ovariectomy (OVE). As you can see from the shorter word, only the ovaries are removed with this surgery. It gets the job done, but comes with fewer complications.

The medical term for neuter is gonadectomy. The word gonad actually stands for a sex gland, so technically it could mean both either testis or ovary. But since girl dogs have their own surgical terminology already, gonadectomy is typically used to indicate a boy dog loosing their testis. Of course, it is always easy enough to just say spay or neuter.

Depending on your dog's medical situation, other parts might need to be removed.

Splenectomy, removal of the spleen, might be needed for dogs with hemangiosarcoma. Femoral head ostectomy (FHO) is one of the surgeries to treat severe hip dysplasia and it means removal of the femoral head .. You get the picture.

When you hear the suffix -ectomy, something is going to be taken out.

Don't forget, taking something out of the body what belongs in there, is always a serious business and it shouldn't be taken lightly.


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