Medical Definition of Distention

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/11/2018

Distention: The state of being distended, enlarged, swollen from internal pressure.

For example, on inhalation there is distention of the lungs due to the increased air pressure within the lungs.

The word "distention" comes from a Latin root "tendere," to extend. The word "tendon" comes from the same root.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018