Cervical: Understanding the Multiple Meanings of the Term Cervical

Cervical May Not Mean What You Think It Means

cervical, cervical vertebrae, cervix, cervical image, cervical vertebra image, cervical vertebrae
The Cervical Vertebrae. Image: ADAM

Definition: Cervical has multiple meanings in the human body.  The word cervix is derived from the Latin root word "cervix" which means "neck." For this reason, the word cervical pertains to many areas where tissues narrow to a neck-like passage.

It is understandable that the term cervical causes confusion, because there are multiple cervixes in the body, and they widely differ.  The two most common uses of the term cervical are used to describe very different areas of the body: the neck and the bottom of the uterus.

 The cervical vertebrae are the bones of the spine that are in the neck.  The cervix, on the other hand, is the area where the uterus narrows to a neck-like passage in the female reproductive system.

It is often hard for individuals to understand that cervical dysplasia is found on a gynecological exam and could lead to a hysterectomy, but cervical stenosis is found on an x-ray of the neck.  

Some Cervical Terminology

  • Cervicalgia: Neck Pain
  • Cervicobrachial: Pertaining to the area where the neck leads to the arm
  • Cervicoaxillary: The narrowing space found under the arm where the arm attaches to the shoulder joint
  • Cervicies: The neck like structure that connects the head to the body of an organism (not necessarily a human).

Pronunciation: sir-vick-uhl

Also Known As: cervix, cervical vertebrae, vertebrae, vertebral,

Examples:

1. The doctor ordered an x-ray to rule out a fracture of a cervical vertebra after the patient was in a severe car crash and started to complain of cervicalgia.

2. The doctor performed a PAP smear to check for abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix as there was a concern that the patient had severe cervical dysplasia.

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