VII Glossary

Aspiration pneumonia: A type of lung infection caused by material from the stomach or mouth inadvertently entering the lungs that can be life-threatening.

Cranium: Eight bones that protect the brain in the cranial cavity.

Candidiasis: A fungal infection often referred to as “thrush” when it occurs in the oral cavity in children.

Cleft lip: A birth defect caused by a partial or complete failure of the right and left portions of the upper lip to fuse together, leaving a gap in the lip.

Cleft palate: A birth defect caused when two halves of the hard palate fail to completely come together and fuse at the midline, leaving a gap between them, and making it very difficult for an infant to generate the suckling needed for nursing.

Concussion: A type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and damaging brain cells.

Dysphagia: Difficulty swallowing.

Epiglottis: A flexible piece of cartilage that covers the opening of the trachea during swallowing to prevent ingested material from entering the trachea.

Epistaxis: Nosebleed.

Facial drooping: An asymmetrical facial expression that occurs due to damage of the nerve innervating a particular part of the face.

Goiter: An abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland that can occur with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

Hematoma: Collection of blood.

Laryngopharynx: The portion of the pharynx inferior to the oropharynx and posterior to the larynx that is a passageway for ingested material and air until its inferior end where the digestive and respiratory systems diverge into the esophagus and the larynx.

Larynx: The structure connecting the pharynx to the trachea that helps regulate the volume of air that enters and leaves the lungs and contains the vocal cords.

Lymphadenopathy: Enlarged lymph nodes.

Lymph nodes: Structures in the lymphatic system that filter pathogens.

Mandible: Lower jawbone.

Masseter: Main muscle used for chewing because it elevates the mandible to close the mouth.

Maxilla: Bone that forms the upper jaw and supports the upper teeth.

Nares: Nostril openings into the nasal cavity.

Nasal septum: Bone and cartilage that separate the nasal cavity into two compartments.

Nasopharynx: The upper region of the pharynx that connects to the nasal cavity and is a passageway for air.

Orbit: The bony socket that houses the eyeball and muscles that move the eyeball.

Oropharynx: The middle region of the pharynx bordered superiorly by the nasopharynx and anteriorly by the oral cavity that is a passageway for air and ingested material.

Pharyngitis: Infection and/or inflammation in the back of the throat (pharynx).

Pharynx: A tube lined with mucous membrane that begins at the nasal cavity and is divided into three major regions: the nasopharynx, the oropharynx, and the laryngopharynx.

Sinusitis: Inflamed sinuses caused by a viral or bacterial infection.

Sternocleidomastoid: The major muscle that laterally flexes and rotates the head.

Suture: An interlocking joint between adjacent bones of the skull.

Temporalis: Muscle that assists in chewing by retracting the mandible. The temporalis muscle can be felt moving by placing fingers on the patient’s temple as they chew.

Trachea:  A tube lined with mucus membrane that carries air from the larynx to the lungs.

Trapezius: The muscle that elevates the shoulders (shrugs), pulls the shoulder blades together, and tilts the head backwards.

Uvula: A small, teardrop-shaped structure located at the apex of the soft palate that swings upward during swallowing to close off the nasopharynx and prevent ingested materials from entering the nasal cavity.


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Nursing Skills - 2e Copyright © 2023 by Chippewa Valley Technical College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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