Medical Misquotes

Adenomegaly or adenophaty?

Alfredo Pinzón-Junca • Bogotá, D.C. (Colombia)

Dr. Alfredo Pinzón-Junca: Especialista en Medicina Interna y Psicoanálisis. Hospital Universitario de La Samaritana y Hospital Simón Bolívar. Coordinador del Consejo de Acreditación y Recertificación de la ACMI®. Bogotá, D.C. (Colombia). E-mail:

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Received: 26/II//2020 Accepted: 4/III/2020


The use of these terms may cause confusion. Knowing their origin and meaning may help clarify it.

Adenomegaly: (From the Latin adeno- 'gland' + mega 'large' + ly; documented in English since 1957):

  1. n. Hypertrophy of a gland.
  2. n. Adenopathy.

Adenopathy: (From the Latin adeno- 'gland' + pátheia 'disease'; documented in French since 1855) [also: enlarged node]:

  1. n. Increased volume of a lymph node which could be due to infections, lymphoid tissue neoplasms, tumor metastases or immune disorders, among others. Aumento del volumen de un ganglio linfático que puede deberse, entre otras causas, a infecciones, neoplasias del tejido linfático, metástasis tumorales o trastornos inmunitarios.
  2. Med. Glandular disease, especially of the lymphatic glands.
    Synonyms: adenomegaly, lymphadenomegaly, lymphadenopathy.
    Comment: From an etymological standpoint, the correct form should be "lymphadenomegaly", but it is hardly ever used in practice.

According to this, it would seem more appropriate to use the term adenomegaly to refer to just the increased size of the lymph node, and adenopathy to speak of disease in this organ. However, these words are synonyms and may be used interchangeably.

As an isolated and nonspecific finding, it is interesting to note that only adenomegaly appears in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10: R599). However, this term is not found in the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española de la Lengua (DRAE) [Dictionary of the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language].


• Real Academia Nacional de Medicina. Diccionario de Términos Médicos. Editorial Médica Panamericana. 2012 (translated)

• Diccionario de la Real Academia Española de la Lengua, available at: (translated)