Medical Term: Crepitance

by Steve on August 26, 2008



This term makes me cringe. Crepitance means a crackling or grating sound- and it is most often used to refer to bones rubbing against one another.

For whatever reason, the thought of that sound makes me really uncomfortable. I’ve never even heard it before!

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 EE September 8, 2008 at 11:07 am

HAHA, it is gross.

2 Martha J. Seaver December 28, 2008 at 10:46 pm

Regarding whomever was grossed out by the term “CREPITANCE,” stating they had not heard of it before. It does not exist. The correct medical term is crepitus, meaning a noisy discharge, or crepitation, meaning Crackling; the quality of a fine bubbling sound (rale) that resembles noise heard on rubbing hair between the fingers.
2. The sensation felt on placing the hand over the seat of a fracture when the broken ends of the bone are moved, or over tissue, in which gas gangrene is present. Syn: bony crepitus.
3. Noise or vibration produced by rubbing bone or irregular degenerated cartilage surfaces together as in arthritis and other conditions.
Syn: crepitus(1). [see crepitus]

Physicians and other dictators incorrectly dictate crepitance instead of the two above-listed correct medical terms, and they have gotten away with it because the transcripionists are trained to TYPE WHAT IS DICTATED (even when they know the correct term)

3 Marcus August 7, 2010 at 10:51 am

Thankyou Steve and Martha. I looked this up as I was preparing for a test to get the most accurate definitions of Crepitance and Crepitus. I have always believed Crepitance was related to the sound of gases in the tissues and Crepitus was the sound of grating bones. However I am somewhat relieved to see that my assumed existence of 2 distinct words is probably due to incorrect usage of them during previous studies and lectures. I will data-dump crepitance once and for all.

4 Betsy January 18, 2011 at 9:51 am

Referring to Martha Seaver’s comment about transcriptionists, I take issue with the comment that we are “trained to type what is dictated”. I have been a transcription for 40+ years and do not type what is dictated if I know it is wrong. Sometimes I will bring it to the attention of the physician, otherwise I will just type the correct word. The other gals in my office are also trained in accuracy and do not use the wrong word. A good transcription will do it correctly and not type the wrong grammar just because it is dictated that way.

5 RT February 1, 2011 at 10:40 am

This is regarding Betsy’s comment on Martha Seaver’s notation. I, too, am a seasoned transcriptionist, having worked 25+ years in this profession. I concur with the usage of crepitus and the non-usage of crepitance. However, I disagree that “transcriptionists are trained to type what is dictated;” if this is the case, they are improperly trained or obtuse, as part of a transcriptionist’s job is to provide an accurate report, including but not limited to proper grammar and correct use of medical terminology.

6 SG February 3, 2011 at 7:32 pm

I have been a transcriptionist for over 11 years, and believe it or not gals I have been told directly by physicians that my job is to type what they say and how they say it and that it is not my job to correct them. I worked in a group practice at that time and, only for this particular doctor, had to actually type the incorrect spellings and such dictated by him. So, always check with the doc if you are not sure. I have heard crepitance used many times, but I don’t type it unless specifically told to do so. Some of them can be ego-maniacal. lol.

7 ACG December 15, 2011 at 10:09 am

I have been a transcriptionist for 12 years as well and I have used crepitus when crepitance is dictated but I will tell you why. Another transcriptionist who worked with me a while back had pointed out to one of our orthopedic surgeons that the word “crepitance” does not exist and that she will type crepitus when he says this. He became very irrate with her for trying to say he was incorrectly creating a new word and he told her he never wanted her to type his dictation ever again because of it. He was the only exception that I made over the last 12 years to type crepitance when he said crepitance. Some doctors just do not want to hear that they could possibly be wrong or could have been using a non-existent medical term. LOL!!!

8 QA Gal February 1, 2012 at 8:35 am

I’ve been in this business for 25+ years and now work in the capacity of a QA /trainer. There are “verbatim accounts” especially with some of the national companies where the MTs are told specifically to type what is dictated. I’ve been there. Now I work for a reputable healthcare facility where our MTs are encouraged to correct poor grammar. It basically depends on who you work for and what the facility preferences are.

9 DP March 19, 2012 at 10:44 am

Re: Martha and the people arguing her point. It is the use of definitive all inclusive grammar that is the problem. Each person tried to say that it was either always one way or always the other. The reality is that it it’s according to the wishes of each organization. Many practices want the transcription to be verbatim for legal reasons. Sometimes a lawyer has used the fact that words were changed by non medically trained individuals to try to prove that the records can not be trusted. So, these people need to just quit using all inclusive language. The point is that many professionals trend to use the wrong word, but they mean the right one.

10 Kim October 18, 2012 at 4:25 pm

What about crepitant? Or crepitants?

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