Heterogeneous vs heterogenous

The words heterogeneous and heterogenous are commonly used in radiological and medical description and reporting. They are often incorrectly used interchangeably, as they have significantly different meanings.

Heterogeneous refers to a structure with dissimilar components or elements. For example a dermoid cyst has heterogeneous attenuation on CT. It is the antonym for homogeneous, meaning a structure with similar components.

Heterogenous refers to a structure having a foreign origin. For example heterogenous bone formation (to make matters worse, heterogenous bone formation is often heterogeneous too!).

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Article information

rID: 41601
Section: Gamuts
Tag: refs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Heterogeneous
  • Heterogenous

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