3.1 Introduction to Prefixes

Learning Objectives

By the end of this chapter you should be able to

  1. Define the term “prefix” and list common prefixes
  2. List common prefixes related to location
  3. List common prefixes related to diagnostic tests and patient symptoms
  4. List common prefixes related to numbers and size
  5. Identify key medical concepts discussed in this chapter
  6. Define common medical terms related to prefixes discussed in this chapter

Chapter Overview

Although prefixes are not present in all medical terms, their use is important in medical terminology because they provide an added layer of detail when discussing aspects of health care. We will explore the use of prefixes in terms that describe patient symptoms, diagnostic procedures, numbers, size, location, and other medical concepts. As has been done in the previous chapters, examples and explanations will be provided throughout. The exercises and review activities are designed to strengthen your knowledge of prefixes and medical terminology as a whole. Extra review of combining forms and suffixes that were introduced earlier in the book will also be provided. A solid foundation of knowledge concerning prefixes, suffixes, and combining forms is needed before we go on to other chapters and more detail about body systems, tests and procedures, and hospital-specific content.



Unless otherwise indicated, material on this page has been adapted from the following resource:

Carter, K. & Rutherford, M. (2020). Building a Medical Terminology Foundation. eCampus Ontario. https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/medicalterminology/ licensed underĀ CC BY 4.0



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The Language of Medical Terminology by Lisa Sturdy and Susanne Erickson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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