Suffixes Indicating Procedure: Medical Terminology Challenge

Which of the following suffixes would you expect to see at the end of a word to indicate a procedure was performed?  

  1. -malacia
  2. -graphy
  3. -rrhea
  4. -ac


B. -graphy

The suffix -graphy is the process of producing a picture or record. For example, mammography (mam-OG-rah-fee) is a radiographic examination of the breasts to identify the presence of tumors or precancerous cells.

mamm/o means breast; -graphy means the process of creating a picture or recording. The result is a mammogram. The suffix (-graphy) indicates a procedure was being performed, and it was being performed on the breast (mamm/o). 

A, C, and D are incorrect. 

-malacia means abnormal softening. For example, chondromalacia (kon-droh-mah-LAY-shee-ah) is the abnormal softening of cartilage. chrondr/o means cartilage; -malacia means abnormal softening. The suffix (-ia) means abnormal condition and relates to pathology (study of diseases). -malacia does not indicate a procedure was being performed. (A)

Chondromalacia is often seen as an overuse injury in sports and can occur under the kneecap (patella) in runners.


-rrhea is the flow or discharge and pertains to the flow of most body fluids. An example is rhinorrhea (rye-noh-REE-ah), often called a runny nose, and refers to the watery flow of mucus from the nose. rhin/o means nose; -rrhea means abnormal discharge. -rrhea is one of those double R suffixes. -rrhea does not indicate a procedure was being performed. (C) 

-ac means pertaining to and when added to a word root, it changes the word into an adjective. For example, the term thoracic (thoh-RAS-ick) means pertaining to the thorax (chest). thorac/o means chest; -ic means pertaining to. -ac does not indicate a procedure was being performed. (D)

If you scored 100%, you are so LIsseth! And according to the Urban Dictionary, that means you are a person who is really, really, REALLY smart.

If you were not sure how to answer the question, be sure to go back and read What Is a Suffix in Medical Terminology? Then take the challenge again. We’ve all been where you are.



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