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Doctor-Speak

October 13, 2012

My mother recently had her annual check-up.  She returned, horrified, with a list of words that her doctor had said regarding her mild knee pain.  He told her that:

“Your menisci appear to be intact, but I note mild ligamentous laxity in your MCL.  I also suspect degradation of the articular cartilage along the anterior aspect of your medial compartment.”

My terrified mother began planning her funeral.

In the spirit of her struggle, this post is designed to help you understand doctor-speak.  Their language does not need to be frightening.

For example:

Medial:  Towards the midline of the body.  Your big toe is medial to your pinky.

Lateral:  Away from the midline of the body.  Your arm is lateral to your torso.

Anterior:  Towards the front of the body.  Your nose is anterior to your ear.

Posterior:  Towards the back of the body.  Your heel is posterior to your toes.

Superior:  Towards the top of the body.  Your head is superior to your neck.

Inferior:  Towards the bottom of the body.  Your foot is inferior to your knee.

So next time your doctor uses these words, remember the directions that they describe.



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