T H E I N T E G U M E N T A R Y S Y S T E M
Welcome to the Integumentary System, the largest organ system in the body.
Its outer layer, the dermis or skin, is certainly one of the most visible sections
of all organ systems. In this presentation you will be introduced to 4
combining forms commonly used when discussing this system.
Combining word #1: melan/o
Our first combining form melan/o originates from the Greek word melas,
Some words built with melas:
Melancholy, melanemesis, melanemia, melangeophile, melanin,
The following two slides illustrate important terms relating to the
Integumentary System using the combining word melan/o.
Hypo (deficient, less than normal)
melan (black, skin pigment melanin)
osis (abnormal condition).
Hypomelanosis means abnormal product of skin pigment and is thus
sometimes used interchangeably with the term Albinism. However there
are various specific conditions where the term hypomelanosis is used, such as
Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis, a gradual reduction in pigment production
oma (tumer, mass)
Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer and the leading cause of
death from skin disease.
Early diagnosis is critical and since many of us are going into nursing I find it
relevant to include the ABCDE system used for diagnosis of melanoma:
Asymmetry: One half of the abnormal area is different from the other half.
Borders: The edges of the growth are irregular.
Color: Color changes from one area to another, with shades of tan, brown, or black, and sometimes
white, red, or blue. A mixture of colors may appear within one sore.
Diameter: The spot is usually (but not always) larger than 6 mm in diameter.
Evolution: The mole keeps changing appearance.
Combining word #2 seb/o
Our second combing word seb/o orginates from the Latin sebum,
Some words built with sebum include Sebaceous cyst and
Seborrhea, which both pertain to the sebaceous glands.
Sebace (oil, fat)
ous (pertaining to)
The sebaceous glands are microscopic glands found in the dermis of the
skin that secrete an oil called sebum, to lubricate and waterproof the skin.
Most sebaceous glands open out into the hair follicle and abnormal
development of cells inside the hair follicle can cause a blockage, leading to acne.
Combining word #3 rhytid/o
Word #3 is from the Greek word rhytis, meaning "wrinkle"
Words built with rhytis include rhytidectomies, rhitidectomy,
rhytidermia, rhytidophyllum, rhytidosis retinae, rhytidosis,
Let’s look at one example of rhytis relevant to the Integumentary system.
ectomy (surgical removal)
Incisions are made near the hair
line and the skin is pulled back and
excess tissue is excised.
Combining form #4 ichthy/o
Ichthy/o is from the Greek word meaning fish. And has come to mean
“scaly/dry” in medical terminology.
Most words built with this Greek word pertain to fish, such as ichthyology-
the study of fish; in medicine the term Ichthyosis is the most common.
Ichthyosis is a family of at least 28 skin disorders, characterized by dry,
thickened, scaly or flaky skin.
The most common, Ichthyosis vulgaris, or Common Ichthyosis, effects about
1 in every 250 people. It is generally an inherited (autosomal dominant) disease.
Osis (abnormal condition)
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