SPLENECTOMY
SPRUE
S
cause potentially fatal haemorrhage, and
an emergency
splenectomy
is needed.
splenectomy Surgical removal of the
spleen
. Splenectomy is performed after
the spleen has been seriously injured or
to treat
hypersplenism
or certain forms
of
anaemia.
The absence of the spleen
does not normally cause problems; its
function is largely taken over by other
parts of the
lymphatic system
and by the
liver.
People who have had a splenec-
tomy are more susceptible to certain
infections and are given pneumococcal
vaccine and long-term
antibiotics.
splint A device used to immobilize a
part of the body.
splinter haemorrhage Bleeding under
the fingernails visible as tiny splinter-
like marks. Usually due to trauma, it can
also be a sign of infective
endocarditis.
splinting The application of a
splint
,
most often used to immobilize a frac-
tured or otherwise injured limb or digit.
splinting, dental The mechanical join-
ing of several teeth to hold them firmly
in place while an injury heals or while
periodontal disease
is treated.
split personality A common term for
multiple personality.
It is also used,
incorrectly, to describe
schizophrenia.
spondylitis Inflammation of the joints
between the vertebrae in the
spine
. It is
usually caused by
osteoarthritis, rheum-
atoid arthritis,
or
ankylosing spondylitis.
spondylolisthesis The slipping forwards
(or occasionally backwards) of a
verte-
bra
over the one below it.
spondylolysis A disorder of the
spine
in
which the arch of the 5th (or, rarely, the
4th) lumbar vertebra consists of soft
fibrous tissue instead of normal bone. As
a result, the arch is weak and prone to
damage under stress, which may produce
spondylolisthesis
. Otherwise, spondyloly-
sis is usually symptomless. See
cervical
spondylosis
;
cervical osteoarthritis
.
sporotrichosis A chronic infection cau-
sed by the fungus
sporothrix schenckii,
which grows on plants. The infection is
most often contracted through a skin
wound; gardeners are particularly vul-
nerable. An ulcer develops at the site of
the wound, followed by the formation
of nodules in lymph channels around
the site. Potassium iodide solution taken
orally usually clears up the infection.
Rarely, in people with reduced immunity,
sporotrichosis spreads to other parts of
the body and requires treatment with
amphotericin, an
antifungal drug
.
sport, drugs and Four main types of
drug are abused by athletes to enhance
physical or mental condition. Stimulants
such as
amfetamines
can prevent fatigue
and increase confidence. Three types of
hormone drugs may be abused: anabolic
steroids (see
steroids, anabolic)
to speed
muscle recovery after exercise; erythropo-
ietin to boost the haemoglobin content
of the blood, which may increase stam-
ina; and
growth hormone
to stimulate
muscle growth.
Analgesic drugs
may be
used to mask the pain of an injury.
Beta-
blockers
are taken to reduce tremor in
sports that require a steady hand. Aside
from the health risks associated with
abuse of these drugs, their use is pro-
hibited in many competitive sports.
sports injuries Any injury that arises
during
sports
participation.
Typical
sports injuries include
fractures
,
head
injury
(including
concussion),
muscle
strain
or
compartment syndrome
, liga-
ment
sprain
,
tendinitis
or tendon rupture,
and joint
dislocation
or
subluxation.
Some
so-called sports injuries, such as
tennis
elbow
, are in fact a type of
overuse injury
.
sports medicine The medical speciality
concerned with assessment and improve-
ment of
fitness
and the treatment and
prevention of disorders related to sports.
spot A general term for a small lump,
mark, or inflamed area on the skin.
spotting See
breakthrough bleeding.
sprain Tearing or stretching of the
liga-
ments
that hold together the bone ends
in a joint, caused by a sudden pull. The
ankle
is the most commonly sprained
joint. A sprain causes painful swelling
of the joint, which cannot be moved
without increasing the pain. There may
also be spasm of surrounding muscles.
Treatment consists of applying an
ice-
pack
, wrapping the joint in a bandage,
resting it in a raised position, and tak-
ing
analgesic drugs.
In severe cases,
surgical repair may be necessary.
sprue An intestinal disorder causing
failure to absorb nutrients from food.
(See also
sprue, tropical; coeliac disease.
)
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