General Question

flo's avatar

Should a patient be relieved about the medical term ''grossly unremarkable''? See detail.

Asked by flo (13202points) 1 week ago

Let’s say it’s about a CT scan result of the bladder, etc. What exactly does it mean? It doesn’t say it’s normal (i.e healthy which is a relief, which is essential for a patient). So what should the patient take from just reading ’‘grossly unremarkable ’’ (until the doctor explains it)? It is not like an assessment of an artwork or something unessential.

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35 Answers

Zaku's avatar

Yes, particularly when we’re older. I got a summary of “regular guy” from my MD once. I was mostly relieved, but slightly disappointed. I don’t think I’ll ever live up to my pediatrician’s comment to my mom once that he didn’t think he’d seen such a healthy child before.

kritiper's avatar

SO healthy as to not be capable of receiving any great remark as to how healthy.

flo's avatar

Why not just use the term ’healthy though?

snowberry's avatar

Because it’s their report, and they or the people who trained them wrote the rules.

Why do you do the things you do? I know the answer. It’s because you are you, and you do what you want to.

kritiper's avatar

@flo Poetic license.

rebbel's avatar

“Healthy” would be (potentially) false.
The bladder might be healthy, but maybe there’s cancer in their liver, or arteries that are clogged, or a psychiatric disorder.

gorillapaws's avatar

@flo ”Why not just use the term ’healthy though?”

It means the MD looked at it and didn’t see anything bad. That doesn’t guarantee there isn’t something bad. CT’s will only detect certain issues, but won’t detect other kinds of issues. They won’t use the term “healthy” because they can’t know that for certain—only that they couldn’t see anything problematic. If it were me, I would take this as very good news.

flo's avatar

“Nothing abnormal detected…..
“Normal” (which is one of of the medical terminology used instead of “healthy”. And nothing in life is guaranteed as they say,
Is the medical field is a place for poetic licence? I don’t know about that.

zenvelo's avatar

Unremarkable means nothing to remark upon.

I had a CT scan in May for a different part of my head but which picked up some thyroid nodes. The doctor recommended a full ultrasound of my thyroid to check it out. The diagnosis was “yes, you have some small nodes, but those are normal and unremarkable”.

flo's avatar

I can understand just the word “unremarkable”, but not together with “grossly”, especially about something medical.

gorillapaws's avatar

@flo “Grossly” in this context is meaning overall, or generally. It means they didn’t inspect every pixel in detail. “Grossly” is not being used as a synonym for “very” or “extremely” as it is commonly used in other contexts. “Grossly unremarkable” is a medical phrase with a specific meaning—not poetic.

JLoon's avatar

It’s not a negative thing from a medical standpoint.

I may even try using it in my resume’.

Yeahright's avatar

I think so. It is medical terminology.

What does “Grossly Unremarkable” mean?
“Grossly Unremarkable” means that nothing unusual or “wrong” can be seen with the naked eye. This is not to say that everything is okay, just that the problem may need more advanced equipment to see.

flo's avatar

All I know is why not use terminology that doesn’t need explanation, and a question to begin with.

Yeahright's avatar

^ I agree, it would make life easier for patients. But, on the other hand, the implications of not using terminology can leave doors open for interpretation and possibly lead to even more problems. Terminology adds precision in any field and at least these days we have the luxury of the internet for Q&A. Remember that back in the day, we had to call the doctor’s office and wait for ever to get answers.

Terminology always requires an explanation. Terminology involves concepts and knowledge we sometimes don’t have. A term is not just a word that we can find a synonym and understand right away, it requires a deeper understanding and a level of specificity.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The patient should be both relieved and grateful to be found so fit to be declared sound beyond the point of yawning boredom.

gorillapaws's avatar

Jargon has some advantages. In the medical field, it allows medical professionals to communicate complex and precise ideas quickly and efficiently. That is a very good thing in some situations, especially time-critical ones. The downside is that it often requires “translation” to people like you and me.

elbanditoroso's avatar

The way I see it, ‘unremarkable’ is good as a medical diagnosis, but isn’t so good if you are a student.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

It is better than “We found a lemon size growth !”

Yeahright's avatar

@gorillapaws There is a difference between jargon and terminology where jargon is more informal, like inside talk and not necessarily used in paperwork, but more in speaking. In this case, I think we are dealing with a medical term.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Yeahright That’s a fair criticism.

Yeahright's avatar

@gorillapaws Never…just putting my two cents :)

flo's avatar

All I know is “red flag” for example, should mean warning/danger, no matter what is being discussed. Why should someone just decide to use it to mean something else whatever the context? What is the point?

smudges's avatar

So basically, none of us have answered your question. I accept that, because sometimes that’s all we can do.

JLoon's avatar

@flo and @smudges – Not my question, but I see at least 4 responses in this thread that would probably qualify as accurate and complete.

We’re talking about a type of medical terminolgy used to communicate among doctors and specialists more than patients. The working definition of “grossly unremarkable” (from Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, Dorland’s Medical Reference, and others) is:

“Gross examination(general outline examination) revealing no abnormality that can be remarked(stated).”

In other words normal or average findings with no urgent intervention needed. But the best way for anyone to settle the question for themselves is to just talk directly to their own doctor & nurses. Trying to get clear technical answers from a general online community like this one may not be the best idea.

smudges's avatar

@JLoon Oh I agree that there are a number of accurate and complete answers. I was merely trying to point out to @flo that if she’s not happy with any of the answers, and it appears that she’s not, that she’ll have to accept that, rather than continuing to rephrase the same question. Those who have answered have tried to be helpful, but I guess sometimes a question simply can’t be answered to the OPs satisfaction.

Trying to get clear technical answers from a general online community like this one may not be the best idea.

Excellent point!

Lightlyseared's avatar

I think its important to remember that drs are human and humans are very good at taking boring repetitive tasks that require high levels of concentration and making them interesting (if only to themselves). Writing “normal” is boring while writing something that means normal but sounds like it doesn’t is fun. (at least its possibly considered fun when you’ve been woken up in the middle of the night by a newly qualified dr with no clue to review a ct scan of healthy patient because they haven’t quite mastered hospital etiquette 101)

RocketGuy's avatar

Seems like a compact way to say: “Nothing abnormal is readily apparent.” They can’t say “normal” because there might be something amiss upon further evaluation.

flo's avatar

“I never said there was nothing wrong /abnormal, I just said it was unremarkable.”
Someone’s unremarkable is another’s remarkable.
Even the weather people can’t just say “unremarkable day weatherwise” just because there is no storm. They have to say drizzle, sunny, cloudy, etc. It can’t get anymmore critical to use accurate wordig than in medical information, whether it’s the patient reading it or other doctors this x mm of y or hypodense….whatever else, unless fake news is a good thing.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@flo I don’t think you would make as a person in the medical profession !

The term “grossly unremarkable” is an appropriate medical term.

flo's avatar

@RocketGuy “They can’t say “normal” because there might be something amiss upon further evaluation.” The word “Normal” and “Abnormal” are used in medical results like in CT scan and other medical test results. Upon further evaluation people who have been convicted of crime have been let out because of DNA etc. So, it’s not the medical field where upon further evaluation the opposite has been found.

flo's avatar

Self correction: So, it’s not just the medical field where upon further evaluation the opposite/different has been found.

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