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Urology Glossary

Andrology

The literal meaning of 'andrology' is 'science of healing men'. This specialist branch of medicine deals with disorders in male sexual development and sexuality. Andrology is therefore the male counterpart to gynaecology.

Bladder

The bladder is a cavernous muscular organ, which serves as urine reservoir. It normally has a capacity of 350 – 450 ml.
The vertex (top) of the bladder and parts of the posterior wall are covered with peritoneum; there is close contact with small intestine loops and with parts of the large intestine.
The bladder sphincter muscle is located at the neck of the bladder, and consists of a protuberance of intertwining converging fibres of the bladder muscle (detrusor muscle).
The entire urinary tract, including the urethra, is lined with a specific and highly specialised layer of cells, urothelium.

Bladder cancer

With 16,000 cases per year in Germany, bladder cancer is one of the most frequent forms of cancer. Men are affected considerably more frequently than women (m:w = 3:1).

Climacterium virile

Term used for the mid-life hormonal change in men, male change of life, 'andropause' or ADAM (Androgen Decline in the Aging Male). Men retain reproductive capacity well into old age; yet the probability of producing fertile sperm and being able to beget children does diminish with age.

Cystitis

Inflammation of the bladder

Ejaculatio precox

Premature ejaculation of sperm during sexual intercourse.

Enuresis

From Greek 'en' = 'in' and 'ourein' = 'make wet', colloquially 'bed-wetting'. A distinction is made between nocturnal enuresis (wetting at night) and diurnal enuresis (wetting during daytime as well).

Erektile Dysfunktion (ED)

The term is used for erection and potency problems (colloquially, 'impotence') when, over an extended period of time, a man does not usually succeed in achieving or maintaining an erection of the penis sufficient for satisfactory sex-life. Short-term erection problems do not constitute ED.

Induratio penis plastica

Also termed 'Peyronie's Disease', a disease of the penis. This leads to torsion of the penis; and to hard so-called plaques, caused by dense fibrous tissue in the corpora cavernosa. The condition can be very painful, especially during erection. Prognosis is uncertain; sometimes the condition is entirely reversed, sometimes it progresses.

Incontinence

weakness of the bladder. This is the inability to keep constant control over urine flow – involuntary loss of urine.

Kidney function

  • The kidney is the most important organ for regulating body fluids
  • The kidneys ensure consistency in the composition and quantity of body fluids
  • 25% of blood flow passes through the kidneys, the equivalent of 1800 litres per day
  • In the process, some 180 litres of ultrafiltrate is formed; about 99% is re-absorbed by the body
  • Substances useful to the body are "saved", while useless or poisonous metabolic products are eliminated in urine
  • The elimination of water and minerals is adjusted to the needs of the body
  • In addition, important hormones are produced and/or activated in the kidney, and conveyed to the body (e.g. for regulation of blood pressure and formation of red blood cell protein, haemoglobin)
  • The ureters are simply tubes which enable urine to flow from the kidneys to the bladder
  • The entire urinary tract is lined with urothelium, a specific and highly specialised layer of cells

Malformations

Kidney aplasia (kidney missing) Kidney hypoplasia (kidney formed too small) Supernumerary kidneys Ectopic kidneys (e.g. pelvic kidneys) Polycystic kidneys Rotation anomalies (distortion of the organ axis)

Mikrochirurgie

stark expandierendes Teilgebiet der Chirurgie vieler medizinischer Teilbereiche von A wie Angiologie bis Z wie zentrales Nervensystem. Unter Verwendung spezieller optischer Hilfsmittel wie Lupenbrille, Operationsmikroskop und Stereomikroskop und des Mikromanipulator (Reproduktionsmedizin) - eines mit feinsten Instrumenten ausgestattetem Mikroskopzusatzgerät für mechanische Eingriffe am Untersuchungspräparat bei sehr starker Vergrößerung - können unter Verwendung spezieller Instrumente u. Nahtmaterials feinste anatomische Strukturen bearbeitet werden.

Oncology

The term oncology designates the science of cancer. In a narrower sense, oncology is the branch of medicine devoted to the prevention, diagnosis, therapy and after-care of malignant illnesses.

Penile deviation

(Congenital) torsion of the penis is a malformation of the penis that can vary greatly in extent.

Phimosis

Phimosis, or narrowing of the foreskin, is a narrowing of the opening of the foreskin. This makes it impossible, or painful, for the foreskin to be drawn back over the glans.

PSA

The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a glyco-protein of 34 k Dalton, a physiological secretion of the prostatic ducts that is added to the ejaculate and liquifies the semen. PSA is an important tumour indicator, of decisive importance in diagnosing prostate cancer, and above all in checking its development.

Priapism

This denotes a painful continuous erection of the penis that lasts more than two hours, and leads to erectile dysfunction if it is not treated. Immediate treatment is therefore essential in order to guard against permanent damage.

Proctoscopy

Proctoscopy is a method of examining the lower colon. It is used, for instance, in the diagnosis of haemorrhoids.

Prostata carcinoma

Prostate cancer (prostate carcinoma, PCA) is the most frequent cancer among men.

Pyelonephritis

Inflammation of the renal pelvis (pyelum).

Renal insufficiency

Term used for acute or chronic reduction in kidney function. The kidney function is measured according to the glomerular filtration rate (GFR).

Semi-castration

This designates the removal of one genital gland (of one testis in men, of one ovary in women).

Spermatocele

This designates a retention cyst originating in the epididymis (rarely in the seminal cord), i.e. a cystic accumulation formed by blocked fluid, filled with protein-rich fluid, and containing sperm. As a rule the spermatocele is located on the superior aspect of the testicle, and can initially be identified by palpation as a small pinhead-sized lump. If not treated it can grow over the years to grapefruit size or larger.

Spermatogram

Investigation of sperm count in order to ascertain male fertility.

Suprapubic catheter

A catheter inserted through the abdominal wall into the bladder in order to withdraw urine.

Testes, epidiymis

Testes, epididymis, seminal cord:

Normal testes have a volume of around 12 – 25 ml. The testes are surrounded by a layer of coarse tissue, and held in place in the scrotum by the so-called gubernaculum testis.

The epididymis is a C-shaped organ attached to the testis. The caput epididymis (head) is closely linked with the testis by numerous small tubuli. The epididymis ultimately becomes the sperm duct.

The sperm duct passes through the inguinal (abdominal) canal to the abdominal cavity. There it turns towards the pelvis, where it crosses the ureter, and joins the seminal vesicle (right or left). It is accompanied by blood vessels, nerves and muscle fibres (seminal cord, funiculus spermaticus).

Function:
  • In the testes, sperm cells (spermatozoa) are produced
  • In addition, the testes are the main location for synthesis of the male sex hormone, testosterone
  • Small quantities of testosterone are also synthesized in the adrenal glands
  • Onehealthy testis is normally sufficient for testosterone and sperm production
  • The sperm cells pass from the testes to the tubuli of the epididymis. This is absolutely essential for sperm mobility. In the epididymis the sperm cells gain "full maturity" during a period of 5 – 12 days
  • Then the sperm is stored in epididymis and sperm duct
  • The sperm retains fertilisation potential for many months

Testicular tumour – cancer of the testicles

Most frequent malignant tumour in young men, mostly aged between 20 and 40, but overall an infrequent tumour. Cryptorchidism (undescended testicle) increases the risk of testicular tumour considerably, namely 15 – 20-fold.
It is possible to distinguish in general terms between seminoma and non-seminoma. This distinction influences the therapy.
The first therapeutic step is exposure of the testes and removal of the testes from groin level. Depending on the pathology it may be necessary to follow up with chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Rate of recovery and prognosis for testicular tumours are excellent, when treatment is provided for the right type at the right stage.

Ureter orenoscopy

Imaging of the ureter.

Urethra

Harnröhre (Urethra):
The male urethra measures around 20 – 25 in length. The inner outlet of the bladder is followed directly by the prostatic urethra. This measures 3 – 3.5 cm, and here the ejaculatory ducts from the seminal vesicles and prostate gland issue on the seminal hillock.

Below the prostatic urethra is the voluntarily controlled muscle, sphincter externus; this is the so-called membranous part of the urethra. Then comes the longest part, the penile urethra, which ends in the glans (fossa navicularis) and orifice (meatus).

The female urethra measures 2.5 – 4 cm. The internal opening of the urethra is directly below the voluntarily controlled bladder muscle. Curving upwards, the urethra ends in the external orifice.

Urethrocystoscopy

Imaging of the ureter.

Urethrotomy

Incision into the urethra.

Urology

Urology is a branch of medicine. It deals with the organs used in urine formation and voiding, that is to say, with kidney, bladder, ureter and urethra, and male genitals – testes, epididymis, sperm ducts, seminal vesicles, penis, and prostate gland. It overlaps with nephrology, gynaecology, neurology, oncology and surgery.

Varicocele

Testicular varicose veins (varicocele testis) Extension of the venous flow from the testes, whereby the venous blood is squeezed in the wrong direction, namely towards the testes.

Vasectomy

This designates male sterilisation.
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