An area of tissue erosion, for example, of the skin or lining of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Due to the erosion, an ulcer is concave. It is always depressed below the level of the surrounding tissue. Ulcers can have diverse causes. Ulcers on the skin are often due to irritation, as with bedsores, and they may become infected and inflamed as they grow. Ulcers in the GI tract were once attributed to stress but most are now believed to be due to infection with the bacteria H. pyloridus. GI ulcers, however, may be made worse by stress, smoking and other noninfectious factors. The word "ulcer" traveled across the English Channel from the French "ulcere" which, in turn, came from the Latin "ulcus, ulceris" meaning "sore, sore spot, painful spot, or ulcer."
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A lesion through the skin or a mucous membrane resulting from loss of tissue, usually with inflammation. See erosion. SYN: ulcus. [L. ulcus (u.-), a sore, u.]
- acute decubitus u. a severe form of bedsore, of neurotrophic origin, occurring in hemiplegia or paraplegia.
- anastomotic u. an u. of jejunum, after gastroenterostomy.
- Buruli u. an u. of the skin, with widespread necrosis of subcutaneous fat, due to infection with Mycobacterium ulcerans; occurs in Uganda in persons living on the Nile river banks. [Buruli, district in Uganda]
- chrome u. an u. of the extremities or nasal septum produced by exposure to chromium compounds. SYN: tanner's u..
- chronic u. a longstanding u. with fibrous scar tissue in the floor of the u..
- stress u. an u. of the duodenum in a patient with extensive superficial burns, intracranial lesions, or severe bodily injury. SYN: Curling u..
- decubitus u. a chronic u. that appears in pressure areas of skin overlying a bony prominence in debilitated patients confined to bed or otherwise immobilized, due to a circulatory defect. SYN: bedsore, decubital gangrene, hospital gangrene, pressure gangrene, pressure sore, pressure u..
- dendritic corneal u. keratitis caused by herpes simplex virus.
- dental u. an u. on the oral mucuous membrane caused by biting or by rubbing against the edge of a broken tooth.
- diphtheritic u. an u. covered with a gray adherent membrane, caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae.
- distention u. an u. of the intestine in the dilated part above a stricture.
- elusive u. SYN: Hunner u..
- fascicular u. a localized vascularization of the cornea to the site of a corneal u..
- Fenwick-Hunner u. SYN: Hunner u..
- Gaboon u. a form of tropical u. affecting the residents of this region; it resembles a syphilitic u., especially in the appearance of its scar. [Gaboon, a region in Africa]
- gastric u. an u. of the stomach.
- gravitational u. a chronic u. of the leg with impaired healing because of the dependent position of the extremity and the incompetence of the valves in the deep venous system of the leg and thigh; the venous return stagnates and creates hypoxemia. SEE ALSO: varicose u..
- gummatous u. lesion of the skin occurring in late syphilis.
- hard u. SYN: chancre.
- healed u. an u. covered by epithelial regeneration, beneath which there may be scarring and absence of glands or appendages.
- herpetic u. u. caused by herpes simplex virus.
- Hunner u. a focal and often multiple lesion involving all layers of the bladder wall in chronic interstitial cystitis; the surface epithelium is destroyed by inflammation and the initially pale lesion cracks and bleeds with distention of the bladder. SYN: elusive u., Fenwick-Hunner u..
- hypopyon u. 1. an advancing central suppurative u. of the cornea; SEE ALSO: hypopyon. 2. a corneal u. with pus in the anterior chamber;
- indolent u. a chronic u., with hard elevated edges and few or no granulations, and showing no tendency to heal.
- inflamed u. an u. with a purulent discharge and inflamed borders.
- Mann-Williamson u. Mann-Williamson operation.
- marginal ring u. of cornea a slowly advancing intermittent u. involving the circumference of the corneal margin.
- Marjolin u. well-differentiated but aggressive squamous cell carcinoma occurring in cicatricial tissue at the epidermal edge of a sinus draining underlying osteomyelitis.
- Meleney u. undermining u. of the skin and subcutaneous tissues caused by a synergistic infection by microaerophilic nonhemolytic streptococci and aerobic hemolytic staphylococci. SYN: Meleney gangrene, progressive bacterial synergistic gangrene.
- Mooren u. chronic inflammation of the peripheral cornea that slowly progresses centrally with corneal thinning and sometimes perforation.
- Oriental u. the lesion occurring in cutaneous leishmaniasis.
- penetrating u. an u. extending into deeper tissues of an organ.
- peptic u. an u. of the alimentary mucosa, usually in the stomach or duodenum, exposed to acid gastric secretion.
- perforated u. an u. extending through the wall of an organ.
- perforating u. of foot a round, deep, trophic u. of the sole of the foot, following disease or injury, in any part of its course from the center to the periphery of the nerve supplying the part.
- phagedenic u. a rapidly spreading u. attended by the formation of extensive sloughing. SYN: sloughing u..
- phlegmonous u. a u. accompanied by inflammation of the neighboring tissues.
- pressure u. SYN: decubitus u..
- recurrent aphthous ulcers SYN: aphtha (2).
- ring u. of cornea inflammation of the greater part or the whole of the corneal periphery.
- rodent u. historic term for a slowly enlarging ulcerated basal cell carcinoma, usually on the face.
- Saemisch u. a form of serpiginous keratitis, frequently accompanied by hypopyon.
- serpent u. of cornea SYN: serpiginous keratitis.
- serpiginous u. an u. extending on one side while healing at the opposite edge, forming an undulating margin.
- serpiginous corneal u. serpentine ulceration of the cornea, due to infection, most often with Streptococcus pneumoniae.
- simple u. a local, not constitutional, u. not accompanied by marked pain or inflammation.
- sloughing u. SYN: phagedenic u..
- soft u. SYN: chancroid.
- stasis u. SYN: varicose u..
- stercoral u. an u. of the colon due to pressure and irritation of retained fecal masses.
- stomal u. an intestinal u. occurring after gastrojejunostomy in the jejunal mucosa near the opening (stoma) between the stomach and the jejunum.
- Curling u. SYN: stress u..
- Sutton u. a solitary, deep, painful u. of the buccal or genital mucous membrane.
- syphilitic u. 1. SYN: chancre. 2. any ulceration caused by a syphilitic infection.
- Syriac u., Syrian u. old names for diphtheria.
- tanner's u. SYN: chrome u..
- trophic u. u. resulting from cutaneous sensory denervation. SEE ALSO: perforating u. of foot. SYN: trophic gangrene.
- tropical u. 1. the lesion occurring in cutaneous leishmaniasis; SYN: tropical sore. SEE ALSO: cutaneous leishmaniasis. 2. tropical phagedenic ulceration caused by a variety of microorganisms, including mycobacteria; common in northern Nigeria.
- undermining u. a chronic cutaneous u. with overhanging margins; due to hemolytic streptococci, tubercle bacilli, or other bacteria.
- varicose u. the loss of skin surface in the drainage area of a varicose vein, usually in the leg, resulting from stasis and infection. SEE ALSO: gravitational u.. SYN: stasis u., venous u..
- venereal u. SYN: chancroid.
- venous u. SYN: varicose u..
- Zambesi u. an u., usually single, about 3 cm in diameter, on the foot or leg, occurring in laborers in the Zambesi Delta; it has a sloughing surface, but does not spread and produces no constitutional symptoms or glandular enlargement; it is associated with the presence of a spirillum and a large fusiform bacillus; one attack seems to confer a partial immunity.

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ul·cer 'əl-sər n a break in skin or mucous membrane with loss of surface tissue, disintegration and necrosis of epithelial tissue, and often pus <a stomach \ulcer>
ulcer vb, ul·cered; ul·cer·ing 'əls-(ə-)riŋ ULCERATE

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a break in the skin extending to all its layers, or a break in the mucous membrane lining the alimentary tract, that fails to heal and is often accompanied by inflammation. Of the many types of skin ulcer, the most common is the venous (or hypostatic) ulcer of the leg, known incorrectly as a varicose ulcer, which is caused by increased venous pressure and usually occurs in older women. See also bedsore.
For ulcers of the alimentary tract, see aphthous ulcer, duodenal ulcer, gastric ulcer, peptic ulcer. Ulcers may also affect the cornea (see dendritic ulcer).

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ul·cer (ulґsər) [L. ulcus, gen. ulceris] a local defect, or excavation, of the surface of an organ or tissue, which is produced by the sloughing of inflammatory necrotic tissue.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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