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Glossary

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List of terms beginning with La

Laboratory study

Research done in a laboratory. These studies may use test tubes or tests on animals to find out if a drug, procedure, or treatment is likely to be useful. Laboratory studies take place before any testing is done in humans.

Lacrymal gland

The medical name for the tear glands. Tear glands produce fluid to keep the eyeballs moist, as well as producing tears. Radiotherapy to the eye can stop the lacrymal glands from working and make the eye permanently dry.

Lactic acid

Lactic acid is a chemical produced in the body, mainly by muscle tissue and red blood cells. It forms when the body breaks down carbohydrates to use for energy during times of low oxygen levels. Times when your body's oxygen level drops can include intense exercise and when you have an infection or illness.

Laparoscope

A thin, bendy fibreoptic tube with a light on the end, used to look at abdominal organs, take tissue samples (biopsy) and carry out small abdominal operations (known as keyhole surgery).

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy

An operation to remove the gallbladder using a laparoscope.

Laparoscopic ultrasound

A small operation where a flexible tube filled with optical fibres (a laparoscope) is put inside the abdomen (tummy) through a small cut. The doctor looks through the laparoscope to see inside the body and take tissue samples (biopsies). Your doctor may pass a very small ultrasound probe through the laparoscope to give a picture of the area.

Laparoscopy

A small operation where a flexible tube filled with optical fibres (a laparoscope) is put inside the abdomen (tummy) through a small cut. The doctor can look through the laparoscope, see inside the body and take tissue samples (biopsies).

Laparotomy

An operation to look inside the abdomen (tummy). It can be done as part of diagnosis or after cancer treatment to see how well it has worked.

Large bowel resection

An operation to remove part of the bowel. The remaining healthy parts of the bowel are usually then joined together again.

Large cell lung cancer

A type of lung cancer. It is named after the large rounded cells that are seen when this type of cancer is looked at under the microscope.

Large loop excision

A small operation to remove abnormal cells from the neck of the womb (cervix) that may become cancerous. It is done as an outpatient under local anaesthetic.

Laryngeal

Laryngeal means to do with the larynx. The larynx is the voice box. So, for example, laryngeal surgery is surgery to your voice box.

Laryngectomy

Surgery to remove the whole or part of the larynx (voice box).

Laryngoscopy

A procedure that lets your doctor look at the back of your throat, voice box (larynx), vocal cords and upper airways with a scope (laryngoscope). The scope is a tube with a light and a camera so your doctor can see inside.

Larynx

The voice box.

Laser

An intense beam of light that can precisely cut through body tissue or destroy abnormal cells. Laser treatment can be used to kill off abnormal precancerous cells or early cancer in some parts of the body. It may also be used as a treatment for advanced cancer.

Laser therapy

Laser therapy is also called laser treatment. An intense beam of light called a laser is used to destroy cancer cells.

Latissimus dorsi

A muscle in the back. This muscle can be used in a type of breast reconstruction.

Laxative

Medicine that stimulates the bowel to prevent or treat constipation.

Updated: 29 June 2016