A useful mnemonic to remember some of the causes of finger clubbing is:
subacute infective endocarditis
cyanotic heart disease
idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
A useful mnemonic to remember tumours which cause hypervascular metastases is:
MR CT PET
R: renal cell carcinoma
T: thyroid carcinoma
PET: (pancreatic) neuroendocrine tumour
A surgical sieve is an approach to differential diagnosis that helps, especially when under the pressure of the exam situation. Differentials from the sections of the sieve can be considered in turn, helping to extend the list in a structured way. They include:
The mnemonic used in the FIGO classification system for the causes of abnormal uterine bleeding in non-gravid women of reproductive age is 1:
The "PALM" causes are considered structural and the "COEIN" (coin) causes are considered non-structural.
Mnemonics for lucent/lytic rib lesions include:
These are just short lists for the possible causes of a lucent/lytic rib lesion. The list of lucent/lytic bone lesions is far longer.
F: fibrous dysplasia
A: aneurysmal bone cyst (ABC)
M: metastasis to bone / mul...
A mnemonic to help remember breast lesion localisation when given a set of mammograms in medio-lateral oblique (MLO) and 90-degree/true lateral (medio-lateral [ML] or latero-medial [LM]) views to predict laterality is:
muffins rise and lead falls
This can help localise a finding on MLO during ...
A helpful mnemonic for remembering the complications of temporal bone fractures that may require early intervention is:
C: carotid artery injury
L: leakage of CSF
O: other intracranial complications, e.g. haematoma
N: nerve injury leading to complete facial paralysis
A useful mnemonic to remember the branches of the internal iliac artery is:
I Love Going Places In My Very Own Underwear!
I: iliolumbar artery
L: lateral sacral artery
G: gluteal (superior and inferior) arteries
P: (internal) pudendal artery
I: inferior vesical (vaginal in female...
Pauli et al published a "handy" way to remember the Couinaud classification of hepatic segments 1.
Make a fist with your right hand. The fingers should be wrapped around the flexed thumb and the fist should face you. The segments are represented by the following:
segment I: (caudate): the thum...
Hypertrophic pyloric stenosis can be characterised in ultrasound studies by the measurements of the hypertrophic muscle. Although the criteria can vary from publication to publication, an easy way to keep in mind those values is remembering the first digits of the number "pi", also represented b...
Features of von Hippel-Linda disease can be remembered by the mnemonic:
I: increased risk of renal cell cancer
P: pancreatic lesions (cyst, cystadenoma, cystadenocarcinoma)
E: eye dysfunction (retinal haemangioblastoma)
L: liver, ...
Mnemonics for the differential diagnosis of lucent/lytic bone lesions include:
They are anagrams of each other and therefore include the same components. They are by no means exhaustive lists, but are a good start for remembering a differential for a lucent/lytic bone...
A useful mnemonic to remember the causes of corpus callosum hyperintensity is:
I MADE A PHD
I: infections (e.g. tuberculosis, varicella, rotavirus, HSV)
M: Marchiafava-Bignami syndrome
A: AIDS encephalopathy
D: diffuse axonal injury and diffuse vascular injury
A mnemonic to remember the order in which extraocular muscles are involved in thyroid-associated orbitopathy (TAO) is:
I: inferior rectus
M: medial rectus
S: superior rectus
L: lateral rectus
There is some debate about this however. Some claim superior rectu...
Mnemonics for multiple lucent/lytic bones lesions include:
The list of lucent/lytic bone lesions is huge. However, where there are multiple lesions, the potential list of differentials is considerably shorter and FFEMHI, while not exhaustive, is a good place to start.
Useful mnemonics to remember the symptoms of acute stroke is:
F = face (look uneven?)
A = arm (drift down?)
S = speech (sound strange or difficulty speaking)
T = time (brain cells die every second)
B = balance (sudden loss of balance)
E = eye (sudde...
Mnemonics for the causes of avascular necrosis (AVN) or more correctly osteonecrosis:
Most common causes:
T: trauma (e.g. femoral neck fracture, hip dislocation, scaphoid fracture, slipped capital femoral epiphysis 2)
A: alcohol abu...
A useful mnemonic to remember the order of the 5 segments of the Fallopian tube, from lateral to medial, the direction an ovum would pass following ovulation, is:
Four INches Across IS IMpossible
Four inches (10 cm) is the approximate length of the Fallopian tube.
Convenient mnemonics for the causes of cerebral ring enhancing lesions are:
MAGIC DR or DR MAGIC
DR MAGIC L
MAGIC DR or DR MAGIC
I: infarct (subacute phase)
D: demyelinating disease
R: radiation necrosis or re...
Mnemonics for elbow ossification include CRITOE and CRITOL. These are essentially the same, apart from the terminal letter which represents the External or Lateral epicondyle.
C - capitellum
R - radial head
I - internal epicondyle
T - trochlea
O - olecranon
E - external ...
A mnemonic for the contents of the broad ligament is:
B: bundle (ovarian neurovascular bundle)
R: round ligament
O: ovarian ligament
A: artefacts (vestigial structures)
D: duct (oviduct)
A mnemonic to recall the persistent communications between the anterior (carotid) and posterior (vertebrobasilar) systems is:
Knowledge of these anatomical variants is important to avoid confusion with pathology and to prevent inadvertent injury during surgery.
A catchy and early learnt mnemonic for recalling some of the causes of pancreatitis is:
I GET SMASHED
E: ethanol (alcohol)
M: mumps (and other infections) / malignancy
S: scorpion stings/spider bites
Carpal tunnel syndrome results from compression of the median nerve within the carpal tunnel. Its causes are numerous and varied.
A useful mnemonic to remember the various pathologies is MEDIAN TRAP:
D: diabetes mellitus
A mnemonic used to remember the DeBakey classification 1 is:
B: both ascending and descending aorta (type I)
A: ascending aorta (type II)
D: descending aorta (type III)
A handy mnemonic to recall the layers of the scrotum is:
Some Damn Englishman Called It The Testes
D: dartos fascia and muscle
E: external spermatic fascia
C: cremasteric fascia
I: internal spermatic fascia
T: tunica vaginalis
T: tunica albuginea
A helpful mnemonic for causes of pulmonary nodules with air bronchograms is:
O: organising pneumonia
B: bronchoalveolar carcinoma (adenocarcinoma)
A: acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
L: lipoid pneumonia
Another consideration i...
Mnemonics for the causes of renal papillary necrosis are plentiful and include:
AD SPORT C
The latter is a list of causes in order of incidence.
Most common causes:
N: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
S: sickle cell disease
The upper and lower lobe distribution of certain bilateral pulmonary pathologies can be recalled using the following mnemonics:
upper lobe or apical predominance: CASSET HPP or SET CAP
lower lobe or bibasilar predominance: BAD RASH
C: cystic fibrosis
A: ankylosing spo...
Mnemonics for peripheral lung opacities seen on chest x-ray or CT are useful to remember differentials. Examples include:
A: alveolar sarcoidosis
E: eosinophilic pneumonia
O: organizing pneumonia (including COP)
U: usual interstitial pneumonit...
A mnemonic to remember the common causes of bronchiectasis is:
CAPT Kangaroo has Mounier Kuhn
C: cystic fibrosis or congenital cystic bronchiectasis (Williams-Campbell syndrome)
A: allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA)
P: post-infectious (most common)
T: tuberculosis (gra...
A particularly helpful mnemonic for causes of pulmonary cavities is:
bronchogenic carcinoma: most frequently squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
cavitary pulmonary metastasis(es): most frequently SCC
A: autoimmune; granulomas from
granulomatosis with polyangiitis
There are many mnemonics to recall the branches of the facial nerve (superior to inferior) as they exit the anterior border of the parotid gland. Examples include:
Tall Zulus Bear Many Children
Two Zulus Bit My Cat
Two Zebras Bit My Coccyx
Ten Zebras Buggered My Car
To Zanzibar By Motor Car...
A mnemonic for common causes of cortical nephrocalcinosis is:
C: cortical necrosis
A: Alport syndrome
G: (chronic) glomerulonephritis
medullary nephrocalcinosis mnemonic
The structures inside and beside the cavernous sinus and their relative positions can be recalled with the following mnemonic:
O TOM CAT
Consider a coronal view of the cavernous sinus.
'O TOM' are the first letters of components of the lateral wall of cavernous sinus considered vertically, fr...
A not-very-useful mnemonic for the causes of nasal septum perforation is:
Say Water Coke Syrup Sugarwater Lemonade or say Nothing
W: Wegener granulomatosis (now known as granulomatosis with polyangiitis)
A mnemonic to remember the variants to report on pre-functional endoscopic sinus surgery studies is 1:
Sphenoid sinus pneumatisation
Ethmoidal artery (anterior)
ostiomeatal complex narrowing due to anatomical variations
Some of the causes of an Erlenmeyer flask deformity can be recalled with the following mnemonics:
C: craniometaphyseal dysplasias
sickle cell disease
N: Niemann-Pick disease
G: Gaucher dis...
A helpful mnemonic to remember the 4 segments of the male urethra from proximal to distal.
Pet My Beautiful Pig
Posterior urethra equates to the prostatic and membranous urethras. Anterior urethra equates to the bulbous and penile urethras.
Mnemonics for the nerves passing though the superior orbital fissure include:
Live Frankly To See Absolutely No Insult
Live Free To See No Insult At All
Lazy French Tarts Sit Nakedly In Anticipation
The order of the nerves passing through the superior orbital fissure from superio...
There are many cranial nerve mnemonics that can be memorable and rude/lewd. Either way, they can be helpful for remembering the names of the twelve cranial nerves, as well as remembering which nerves are sensory, motor, or both.
Remembering cranial nerve names in order of CN I to CN XII:
Handy mnemonics to recall the contents of the spermatic cord are:
Papers Don't Contribute To A Good Specialist Level
3 arteries, 3 nerves, 3 other things
Papers Don't Contribute To A Good Specialist Level
P: pampiniform plexus
D: ductus deferens
C: cremasteric artery
The anatomy of the segmental bronchi of the right lower lobe can be remembered by using one of several mnemonics. The segments are as follows:
medial basal (B7)
anterior basal (B8)
lateral basal (B9)
posterior basal (B10)
Just remove the second "L" and...
A handy mnemonic to recall the muscle attachments of the hyoid bone. The first sentence is for six muscles attaching superiorly, the second sentence is for three muscles attaching inferiorly. Both sentences are in order from lateral to medial:
Christopher, He Didn't See Girls Much. That's Obvio...
Mnemonics of the carpal bone are numerous and useful for memorising the order and location of the bones. They usually describe the position of the carpal bones from lateral to medial in the proximal row and then the distal row:
Sam Likes To Push The Toy Car Hard
She Looks Too Pretty Try To Cat...
A mnemonic to remember external jugular vein (formed by the retromandibular and posterior auricular veins) tributaries is:
P: posterior external jugular vein
A: anterior jugular vein
S: suprascapular vein
T: transverse cervical vein
A useful mnemonic to remember the ejaculatory pathway of sperm is:
S: seminiferous tubules of the testes
V: vas (ductus) deferens
E: ejaculatory duct
A mnemonic to remember five benign lytic lesions that rarely occur in patients over 30 years of age.
S - simple bone cyst
C - chondroblastoma
A - aneurysmal bone cyst
N - non-ossifying fibroma
E - eosinophilic granuloma
In a patient older than 30 years of age th...
A useful mnemonic to remember the contents of the cubital fossa is, from medial to lateral:
My Brother Throws Rad Parties
M: median nerve
B: brachial artery
T: tendon of biceps
R: radial nerve
P: posterior interosseous branch of radial nerve
A useful mnemonic to remember the major branches of the aortic arch is:
A: arch of aorta
B: brachiocephalic trunk
C: left common carotid artery
S: left subclavian artery
Useful mnemonics to remember the branches of the axillary artery are:
S AL SAP
Screw the lawyer, save a patient!
S AL SAP
S: superior thoracic artery (from 1st part)
A: acromiothoracic (thoracoacromial) artery (from 2nd part)
L: lateral thoracic artery (from 2nd part)
This mnemonic helps when remembering the ascending order of structures that corresponds to each waveform in an auditory brainstem response (ABR) tracing:
E: eighth nerve action potential (wave I)
C: cochlear nucleus (wave II)
O: olivary complex (superior) (wave III)
A commonly used mnemonic for recalling the features of consolidation is:
A: acinar rosettes
A: air bronchogram/alveologram
B: bat-wing distribution
C: coalescent/confluent ill-defined "fluffy" appearance
C: consolidation: diffuse, perihilar/bibasilar, lobar/segmental...
A mnemonic to remember the causes of air trapping on HRCT chest is:
Once with HSBC, you are trapped with HSBC
H: hypersensitivity pneumonitisS: sarcoidosisB: bronchiolitis obliteransC: cystic fibrosis / bronchiectasis
Here is a list of some of the most useful differential diagnoses in musculoskeletal imaging.
lucent/lytic bone lesions (FEGNOMASHIC)
multiple lucent/lytic bone lesions
benign lytic bone lesions in patients under 30
diffuse bony sclerosis
permeative process in bone
There are multiple handy mnemonics to recall the erector spinae muscles. They usually describe the position from lateral to medial.
I Like Standing
I Love Sex
I Long for Spinach
I Like Siri
A mnemonic that refers to the order of the ankle tendons that pass under the extensor retinaculum of the ankle running from medial to lateral is:
Tom Hates Dick
T: tibialis anterior
H: extensor hallucis longus
D: extensor digitorum longus
History and etymology
The phrase Tom, Di...
A mnemonic to remember the radiological features of rickets is:
Reaction of the periosteum
Knees, wrists and ankles mainly
Epiphyseal plates widened and irregular
Mnemonics for brachial plexus root subdivisions include:
Robbie T Drinks Cold Beer
Rugby Teams Drink Cold Beers
or Rad Techs Drink Cold Beer
Reach To Drink Cold Beer
Read That Damn Cadaver Book
Really Tired, Don't Care Now (nerve instead of branch)
Red Tits Don't Come Back (red-headed ti...
The complications of acute bacterial meningitis can be remembered using the mnemonic:
C: cerebritis / cranial nerve lesion
E: extra-axial collection: empyema and hygroma
Mnemonics for remembering the three conjoined tendons that make up the pes anserinus include:
Say Grace before Tea
From anterior to posterior, the tendons are:
Say Grace before Tea
A useful mnemonic to remember the branches of the ophthalmic artery is:
D: dorsal nasal artery
R: (central) retinal artery
M: muscular artery
C: ciliary arteries (long, short and anterior)
L: lacrimal artery
E: ethmoidal arteries (anterior and posterior)
A simple mnemonic to recall a list of commonly calcifying metastases is:
B: breast cancer
T: papillary thyroid cancer
O: ovarian cancer (especially mucinous)
M: mucinous adenocarcinoma (especially colorectal carcinoma)
Mnemonics to recall the order of the femoral vessels and nerve as they emerge from beneath the inguinal ligament into the femoral triangle are:
From lateral to medial:
N: femoral nerve
A: femoral artery
V: femoral vein
A mnemonic for the boundaries of the femoral triangle is:
This should be easy to remember because the femoral triangle is shaped like a sail.
A: adductor longus
IL: inguinal ligament
A useful mnemonic to remember the five parts of the ostiomeatal complex is:
H: hiatus semilunaris
E: ethmoidal bulla
M: maxillary ostium
U: uncinate process
Emus have large beaks, and hence could have large ostiomeatal complexes (if they had paranasal sinu...
Mnemonics for brachial plexus terminal branches includes:
Most Alcoholics Must Really Urinate
Where the first letter of each word represents the terminal branches of the brachial plexus:M: musculocutaneous nerveA: axillary nerveM: median nerveR: radial nerveU: ulnar nerve
A helpful mnemonic to remember inguinal canal walls is:
MALT (2M, 2A, 2L, 2T)
Starting from superior, moving anticlockwise in order to posterior:
Superior wall (roof): 2 Muscles
internal oblique Muscle
transverse abdominus Muscle
Anterior wall: 2 Aponeuroses
Aponeurosis of exter...
A useful mnemonic to remember the possible aetiologies of a bone within a bone appearance is:
G: growth arrest lines
H: heavy metal, hypoparathryoid, hypothyroid
S: sickle cell anaemia, scurvy, syphilis
T: thalassamia, tuberculosis
D: disease of Caf...
A mnemonic for the causes of lymphangitic carcinomatosis is:
Certain Cancers Spread By Plugging The Lymphatics
L: larynx and lung
A mnemonic for the common causes of paralytic ileus is:
The classic "5 Ps" are:
P: potassium: low (also disturbances of other electrolytes)
P: pelvic and spinal fractures
However, there are a few further Ps that can be include...
The hair on end sign refers to a radiographic appearance of the diploic space of the skull vault which results from a thickening of trabeculae as the diploic space expands. These trabeculae are perpendicular in orientation, interspersed by radiolucent marrow hyperplasia along the skull vault.
The causes of dementia can be remembered using the mnemonic:
V: vitamin deficiency: B1, B6, B12, folate
A: autoimmune: cerebral vasculitis, systemic lupus erythematosus
N: normal pressure hydrocephalus, neoplasia
I: infection: Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, herpes simplex enc...
Useful mnemonics to remember the branches of the internal carotid artery is:
A VIP'S COMMA
Calming voices make intra operative surgery pleasurable and almost memorable.
A VIP'S COMMA
A: anterior choroidal artery (C7)
V: Vidian artery (C2)
I: inferolateral trunk (C4)
The commonest causes of basal ganglia T2 hypointensity can be recalled using the following mnemonic:
Ch: childhood hypoxia
O: old age
M: multiple sclerosis
P: Parkinson's disease, more in globus pallidus
The primitive arteries in the brain can be remembered by the following mnemonic:
P: posterior inferior cerebellar (PICA)
A: anterior choroidal
The meningohypophyseal trunk and anterior choroidal and posterior ...
The following mnemonics can be used as reminders of the causes of hepatic capsular retraction:
C: cholangiocarcinoma (intrahepatic)
T: treated hepatic metastasis or hepatocellular carcinoma
C: cirrhosis with confluent hepatic fibrosis
H: haemangioma (e...
A useful mnemonic for remembering the differentials for pituitary region masses is:
S: sarcoid, sellar tumour (pituitary adenoma)
T: teratoma or tuberculosis (and other granulomatous diseases)
C: craniopharyngioma, cleft cyst (Rathke), ...
The symptoms of normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) can be recalled with this mnemonic:
wet, wacky, wobbly
wet: urinary incontinence
wacky: dementia (memory disturbance)
wobbly: gait disturbance
Helpful mnemonics for remembering the segments of the facial nerve include:
I Love Going To Makeover Parties 1
I Love Grinning, Then Making Pouts
both grinning and pouting are performed by muscles which are innervated by the facial nerve
I Must Learn To Make (facial) Expressions
A handy mnemonic to recall cortically-based brain tumours is:
P: pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma
D: dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumour (DNET); desmoplastic infantile astrocytoma and ganglioglioma
A useful mnemonic to help remember the parts of the corpus callosum, from anterior to posterior, is:
Remember Genu Before Splenium
Remember G Before S (as G comes before S alphabetically)
B: body (trunk)
Mnemonics for the common cerebellopontine angle masses include:
AMEN or MEAN
A: acoustic schwannoma (~80%)
M: meningioma (~10%)
E: ependymoma (~5%)
N: neuroepithelial cyst (arachnoid/epidermoid) (~5%)
acoustic schwannoma much more commo...
A handy mnemonic to recall the causes of a stellate breast lesion is:
S: summation shadow
T: tumour (i.e. invasive breast cancer)
R: radial scar
F: fibroadenoma / fat necrosis
A: adenosis (sclerosing)
CE: other causes, haematoma (e.g. postoperative, post bio...
Pulseless electrical activity is a very disconcerting medical scenario with a very high mortality unless its aetiology can be quickly ascertained and corrected. A mnemonic to remember the different causes of pulseless electrical activity is:
MAD (triple H) CAT
M: massive pulmonary em...
The causes of breast oedema can be remembered using the mnemonic:
V: venous obstruction
I: inflammatory breast cancer
L: lymphatic obstruction
S: surgery (recent)
A useful mnemonic to remember the nine lobules of the cerebellar vermis is:
Like Cats Catching Dogs For The Party Up North
C: central lobule
A useful mnemonic to remember the branches of the thoracoacromial artery is:
A helpful mnemonic for remembering the causes of pneumatosis intestinalis is:
C: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
P: pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis
Mnemonics for a unilateral hyperlucent hemithorax include:
C: contralateral lung increased density, e.g. supine pleural effusion
A: air, e.g. pneumothorax
W: wall, e.g. chest wall mass, mastectomy, polio, Poland syndrome, surgical re...
A mnemonic to remember the anterior components of the sacral plexus is:
too much sex in the quad
tibial portion (L4-S2) of the sciatic nerve (L4-S3)
nerve to internal obturator and superior gemellus muscles (L5-S2)
nerve to quadratus femoris and inferior gemellus muscles (L4-S1)
A mnemonic for the skin changes associated with mercury poisoning is:
This mnemonic will help with the sonographic approach to the critically ill patient with dyspnoea:
C: collapsed lung (pneumothorax)
absent anterior lung sliding / anterior B lines
lung point present 1
H: heart failure (acute pulmonary oedema)
diffuse bilateral anterior B ...