Atonic or acontractile (bladder): a bladder that has lost all its ability to contract to empty itself.

Augmentation cystoplasty: a piece of small bowel tissue is reflected and sutured onto an opened bladder to create a larger bladder in terms of volume that can maintain a lower pressure within it.

Autonomic dysreflexia: dangerous response seen in patients with a spinal cord lesion at T6 or above, to stimuli below that level of injury. It can lead to uncontrolled hypertension, a sensation of facial flushing or tingling or headache, and rarely stroke/death.


Benign: non–cancerous.

Biopsy: sampling of a body part usually with a needle, to discover the presence, cause or extent of a disease.

Brachytherapy: or internal radiotherapy. This involves the placement of radioactive seeds in the target organ (e.g., prostate).


Catheter: a flexible tube inserted through a narrow opening to drain a cavity (e.g., bladder).

Clot retention: unable to pass urine due to heavy bleeding and clots blocking the bladder.

Compliance (bladder): elasticity of the bladder. A poorly compliant bladder has stiff walls and does not expand properly with bladder filling, causing high bladder pressures.

Contracture: shrinkage or narrowing due to scarring or fibrosis.

Continuous bladder washout: a closed catheter system that allows fluid to be trickled into the bladder and drained at the same time – this can stop further bleeding in the urine.

Cyst: thin-walled, hollow cavity containing fluid.

Cystoscopy: inspection of the bladder with a tubelike camera.

Cytology: using a microscope to look for a single cell type (e.g., cancer cells), typically in fluid specimens or body tissue.


Diversion (urinary): Urine can be surgically diverted away from the bladder, by implanting the ureters to a piece of small bowel. This then exits to the abdominal skin surface (stoma) into a bag.

Diverticulum: outpouching in an organ such as bladder or urethra.

DSD: Detrusor sphincter dyssynergia, which is poor relaxation of the urinary sphincter during voiding, that can potentially cause kidney damage. Seen in neurogenic patients.

DVT: deep vein thrombosis, or clots in the legs.

Dysuria: the sensation of burning in the urine.


Ectopic ureter: A congenital condition in which the ureter can come down and open in another site other than inside the bladder.

Embolisation: artificially clotting or blocking off.

Encrust: covered with stone-like material.

Enuresis: bed-wetting.

Erosion: breakdown of a surface of body tissue.

ESWL: extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy; a non-invasive procedure using shockwaves to break a kidney stone into smaller fragments.


Fascia: a layer of strong, stretchy tissue that covers, separates or holds together different organs, muscles, blood vessels or nerves.

Fibrosis: thickening or scarring of tissue.

Fistula: the abnormal connection between two body parts.

Flap: a piece of tissue that is transferred from one site to another while maintaining its own blood supply.

Fluoroscopy: done in conjunction with X-ray imaging.


Gleason score (prostate): a grading system used to assess high aggressive a prostate cancer is. This has prognostic value, and can help to guide management.

Grading: analysis of cancer tissue under the microscope to assess how aggressive it is.

Graft: a piece of healthy, living tissue that is transplanted surgically to repair a different body part.


Haematuria: blood in the urine.

Hyperplasia: enlargement of an organ caused by a higher rate of cell proliferation.


Idiopathic: occurring on its own with no underlying cause.

Immunotherapy: the administration of some naturally produced substances in the body to stimulate the immune system to fight the cancer.

Induction: starting or introductory

Instillation: infusion or pouring of a substance (liquid) slowly.

Intravenous: administered through a vein.

Ischaemia: inadequate blood supply.


JJ stent: or double J stent, is named after the shape of the coil that resembles a J shape, at each end of the stent. It is inserted into the ureter.


Ligament: a tough, flexible band of fibrous tissue that connects two bony surfaces.

Lithotripsy: using shockwaves to break up stones.


Macroscopic: seen with the naked eye.

Maintenance: therapy intended to preserve health benefits and prevent a relapse.

Malignant: cancerous.

Martius flap: a flap consisting of labial fat used often as a protective layer to cover the urethra after surgery, to prevent fistula formation.

Meatus: opening leading to the interior of the body.

Metastasis: aggressive cancer that has spread to other organs.

Microscopic: cannot be seen with the naked eye, only detected with instruments or microscope.

Migration: unwanted movement of a medical device or substance away from its original site of implantation.

Mixed urinary incontinence: stress and urge urinary incontinence occurring at the same time.


Neobladder: artificial bladder that is fashioned with the patient’s bowel segment. It sits in the same position as the original bladder that has been surgically removed.

Nephrostomy tube: external tube that drains the kidney directly out the skin in the flank area into a bag.

Neurogenic: caused by a neurological condition.

Neuromodulation: the alteration of nerve activity by delivery of a stimulus (e.g., electrical or chemical) to improve abnormal nerve pathway behaviour caused by a disease process.

Nocturia: waking up more than once to pass urine.

Nocturnal polyuria: high urine output at night; defined as night-time urine output of >20% of the daily total in young adults and >33% in older adults.


Outpatients (procedure): day case, where the patient is allowed to go home after the procedure and does not have to stay in the hospital.


PCNL: percutaneous nephrolithotomy; a surgery that involves direct puncture of the kidney from the skin, to remove big stones.

Pelvic floor: a group of muscles and ligaments that support the bladder, uterus (womb) and bowel.

Perineum: area located between the scrotum / vagina and the anus.

Peyronie’s disease: curvature of the penis due to scar formation in an inner layer of the penis.

Polyuria: high urine output.

Priapism: a prolonged (>4 hours) erection that does not go away despite conscious efforts to do so.

Prolapse: herniation; protrudes from its original position.

PSA: Prostate-specific antigen is an enzyme secreted by prostate cells that liquefies semen to allow sperm to swim freely. It is a blood test that is used to screen for prostate cancer.

PTNS: posterior tibial nerve stimulation; non-invasive treatment for the overactive bladder, involving placing a stimulating electrode to the skin on the foot, overlying a nerve that can indirectly affect bladder control.

Pubovaginal fascial sling: a non-mesh or mesh-free sling surgery that uses the patient’s own tissue to treat stress urinary incontinence.

PVR: post-void residual; this is the amount of urine that is left behind after a void. It can be measured with an ultrasound scanner or by draining it with a catheter.


Radical (surgery): removal of a tumour and its metastasis and lymph nodes that drain the tumour. Used to describe cancer surgery.

Reflux: backwards flowing.

Refractory: a persistent condition that does not improve after initial treatment.

Retrograde pyelogram: using contrast to inspect the ureter and kidney in the operating theatre.

Retrograde ejaculation: back flow of ejaculate volume (semen) into the bladder, as a result of surgery that opens up the bladder neck (e.g., TURP, bladder neck incision) or taking medication that relaxes the bladder neck.

Retropubic: passing behind the pubic bone.


Sedation: light anaesthetic or ‘twilight’ anaesthetic during which you will still not feel or be aware of the procedure.

Sepsis: severe infection in the blood system.

Seroma: accumulation of fluid under the skin, usually near an incision site.

Sphincter: a ring of muscle that acts like a tap to control continence (e.g., urethral sphincter controls bladder continence, anal sphincter controls bowel continence).

Staging: doing tests to see if the cancer has spread beyond the original organ.

Steinstrasse: ‘stone street’ in German; stone fragments lining up in the ureter and blocking it, causing pain.

Stent: tiny tube placed in a hollow structure in the body (e.g., JJ stent in the ureter).

Sterile: completely germ free.

Stoma: an opening on the abdomen made of a bowel segment, that usually drains either urine or stool into a collection bag attached over the stoma.

Stress urinary incontinence: urinary leakage due to physical exertion.

Suprapubic: located above the pubic bone, in the lower abdomen.

Surveillance: close observation with regular tests.

Synthetic: produced artificially, not naturally.


Transobturator: passing through the obturator foramen, a large opening in the hip bone.

Trial of void: removing a catheter to see if a patient is able to pass urine and empty the bladder satisfactorily.

TURP: transurethral resection of prostate; a surgery to treat benign prostatic enlargement, during which the prostate is ‘cored’ out from the inside to open up the channel to allow easier urination.

TURP syndrome: or ‘water intoxication’ from over-absorption of irrigating fluid during a TURP surgery, causing a drop in blood sodium levels.


Ureter: the tube that drains the kidney to the bladder.

Urethra: the passageway where one passes urine or the tube that drains the bladder to the outside.

Urethrolysis: surgery done to free up the urethra and relieve obstruction usually as a result of a previous incontinence surgery (e.g., tight sling).

Urethroplasty: open surgical repair or reconstruction of the urethra to correct an injury, defect or stricture.

Urge incontinence: urinary leakage from urgency that cannot be deferred. This is usually due to an overactive bladder.

Urodynamics: bladder function test done under local anaesthesia.

Uroflow study: measurements of urinary flow rate and post-void bladder scan. This test is done in the urologist’s office by asking a patient to void into a special collection machine.

Uterus: womb.


Varicocele: swelling of the veins on top of the testicle. This can cause discomfort and lower fertility.