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Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Inspection of the abdomen involves first looking from the foot of the bed along the length of the patient - asymmetry is easier to view from this vantage point. Closer inspection is then made.

Points to note include:

  • symmetry
  • scars
  • pulsatile masses
  • movements of abdominal wall with respiration
  • distension - fat, faeces, flatus, foetus, tumour, phantom pregnancy
  • caput Medusae, umbilicus
  • visible peristalsis
  • striae

An oblique light may be used to distinguish the shadows produced by masses moving across the abdomen with respiration.

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