Palpation

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palpation

[pal′pā·shən]
(medicine)
Diagnostic examination by touch.

Palpation

 

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.

REFERENCE

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

V. S. IAKOVLEVA

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