Synechiae

Last revised by Dr Daniel J Bell on 16 Oct 2019

Synechiae (singular: synechia, alternative plural: synechias) are another term for adhesions, which in radiological contexts usually relates to bands of scar tissue between structures, e.g. within the abdominal cavity or pleural cavity or within the uterus.

In a more narrow sense, synechia refers to an eye condition where the iris adheres to the cornea or lens, usually as a result of inflammation.

History and etymology

While adhesions have a Latin origin meaning 'sticking to' (compare the common English word 'adhesive'), synechiae are essentially the Greek equivalent, where συνέχεια/sunekheia means to hold (ἔχειν/ekhein) together (σύν/sun). Interestingly, the English word synechia is a Latinised version of the original Greek with one of the accepted plurals (synechiae) following the pattern of a first declension female Latin word – the actual Greek plural would be synechies (συνέχειες). This is a pattern that can be seen in other terms with non-Latin origins.

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