Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: -ectomy, -stomy

Breast Cancer
A mastectomy (removal of a breast) may be done as a treatment against breast cancer. Credit: Image

The suffix (-ectomy) means to remove or excise, as typically done in a surgical procedure. Related suffixes include (-tomy) and (-stomy). The suffix (-tomy) refers to cutting or making an incision, while (-stomy) refers to a surgical creation of an opening in an organ for the removal of waste.


Appendectomy (append-ectomy) - surgical removal of the appendix, typically due to appendicitis. The appendix is a small, tubular organ that extends from the large intestine.

Atherectomy (Ather-ectomy) - surgical procedure performed with a catheter and cutting device to excise plaque from within blood vessels.

Cardiectomy (cardi-ectomy) - surgical removal of the heart or the excision of the portion of the stomach known as the cardiac section. The cardiac section is a part of the esophagus that is connected to the stomach.

Dactylectomy (dactyl-ectomy) - amputation of a finger.

Gonadectomy (gonad-ectomy) - surgical removal of male or female gonads (ovaries or testes).

Isthmectomy (isthm-ectomy) - removal of the portion of the thyroid known as the isthmus. This narrow strip of tissue connects the two lobes of the thyroid.

Lobectomy (lob-ectomy) - surgical removal of a lobe of a particular gland or organ, such as the brain, liver, thyroid, or lungs.

Mastectomy (mast-ectomy) - medical procedure to remove the breast, typically done as a treatment against breast cancer.

Spleenectomy (spleen-ectomy ) - surgical removal of the spleen.

Tonsillectomy (tonsill-ectomy ) - surgical removal of the tonsils, typically due to tonsillitis.

Examples: -stomy

Colostomy (colo-stomy) - medical procedure to connect a portion of the colon to a surgically created opening in the abdomen. This allows the removal of waste from the body.

Nephrostomy (nephro-stomy) - surgical incision made in the kidneys for the insertion of tubes to drain urine.

Tracheostomy (tracheo-stomy) - surgical opening created in the trachea (windpipe) for the insertion of a tube to allow air to pass to the lungs.