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Grey's Anatomy

Behind the Medical Jargon: What’s a Chordoma?

Derek’s surgical patient, Greg, suffered from a chordoma, a type of bone cancer arising from embryonic remnants in the vertebral column and resulting in tumors anywhere along the spine or skull. Those that form in the skull are sometimes referred to as brain tumors, though they don’t form from brain cells. The skull-based ones can put pressure on parts of the brain, impairing regular body functions. The causes and the risk factors are still unknown, and it’s uncertain whether chordomas are hereditary. Once diagnosed, chordoma patients live for an average of seven years.

Perkins said that Lexie and many of the other doctors have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disorder resulting from a psychologically-traumatic event. PTSD can manifest itself in nightmares or flashbacks about the incident, avoidance of anything reminiscent of the incident, insomnia, anger, and hypervigilance. Perkins told Mark that Lexie had been treated with antipsychotics, which is medication used to relieve aggression, moodiness, and disassociation) and benzos, which is short for benzodiazepines, medication used to relieve hyperarousal and anxiety.

Who needs a medical degree when we have a Grey’s lesson in medicine every week?


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