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Diagnostic examination by touch.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a method of medical examination of a patient. Palpation in the broad sense, for example, feeling the pulse, is mentioned as early as the works of Hippocrates; however, for examination of internal organs it became common in the second half of the 19th century, following the work of R. Laënnec, Joseph Ŝkoda, and V. P. Obraztsov. Palpation is based on tactile perception that results from moving and pressing the fingers or palm of the palpating hand. Tissues and organs are palpated to determine their position, size, shape, consistency, mobility, topographic interrelations, and tenderness.

Palpation may be superficial or deep. Superficial palpation is performed with one or both palms placed flat on the examined area of the skin, joints, heart, or other part of the body. Blood vessels are palpated with the tips of the fingers to determine fullness and the condition of the walls. Deep palpation is performed by special methods that differ for examination of the stomach, intestinal tract (sliding palpation, developed by Obraztsov), liver, spleen and kidneys, rectum, vagina, and other organs.


Miasnikov, A. L. Osnovy diagnostiki i chastnoi patologii (propedevtika) vnutrennikh boleznei, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1951.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Fundal height measurement by abdominal palpation is used historically to assess the growth of the fetus.
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Most important, however, is abdominal palpation, in which the veterinarian's hands probe the abdominal area along the entire length of the colon to see if it is distended with fecal matter.
Clinically, a central, painless epigastric mass was palpable on abdominal palpation.
The fourth patient, the 9-year-old girl, had severe abdominal pain and tenderness on abdominal palpation, profound hypotension (blood pressure 60/30 mm Hg), and a generalized hemorrhagic rash.
* Routine screening for pancreatic cancer in asymptomatic adults using abdominal palpation, ultrasonography, or serologic markers.
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