Protean in standard English has the meaning of something that appears in many different forms. In the same vein, in radiological usage it is used to describe a condition which can assume multiple different guises. One of its classic uses is for the imaging appearance of osteomyelitis which can look like virtually anything.
It is derived from a name (see below) and therefore may be capitalized or non-capitalized.
Occasionally in medicine the term 'legion' is used in a similar manner. Legion used in this way means a "large number of".
History and etymology
From the Ancient Greek name Proteus, a god of the sea who was a shapeshifter, and therefore could take on an infinite variety of appearances 1.
- 1. Chambers of Editors, Chambers. The Chambers Dictionary. (2014) ISBN: 9781473602250
Related Radiopaedia articles
Terms used in radiology
- fluid collection
- granulation tissue