cause potentially fatal haemorrhage, and
splenectomy Surgical removal of the
. Splenectomy is performed after
the spleen has been seriously injured or
or certain forms
The absence of the spleen
does not normally cause problems; its
function is largely taken over by other
parts of the
and by the
People who have had a splenec-
tomy are more susceptible to certain
infections and are given pneumococcal
vaccine and long-term
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
splinting The application of a
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
split personality A common term for
It is also used,
incorrectly, to describe
spondylitis Inflammation of the joints
between the vertebrae in the
. It is
usually caused by
spondylolisthesis The slipping forwards
(or occasionally backwards) of a
over the one below it.
spondylolysis A disorder of the
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
. Otherwise, spondyloly-
sis is usually symptomless. See
sporotrichosis A chronic infection cau-
sed by the fungus
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
sport, drugs and Four main types of
drug are abused by athletes to enhance
physical or mental condition. Stimulants
can prevent fatigue
and increase confidence. Three types of
hormone drugs may be abused: anabolic
muscle recovery after exercise; erythropo-
ietin to boost the haemoglobin content
of the blood, which may increase stam-
used to mask the pain of an injury.
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
sports injuries include
or tendon rupture,
so-called sports injuries, such as
, are in fact a type of
sports medicine The medical speciality
concerned with assessment and improve-
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.
sprain Tearing or stretching of the
that hold together the bone ends
in a joint, caused by a sudden pull. The
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
, wrapping the joint in a bandage,
resting it in a raised position, and tak-
In severe cases,
surgical repair may be necessary.
sprue An intestinal disorder causing
failure to absorb nutrients from food.
sprue, tropical; coeliac disease.