Palpation used as part of a physical examination in which an object is felt (usually with the hands of a healthcare practitioner) to determine its size, shape, firmness, or location. Palpation should not be confused with palpitation, which is an awareness of the beating of the heart.


Palpation is used by various therapists such as practitioners of chiropractic, osteopathic medicine, physical therapists, and massage therapists, to assess the texture of a patient's tissue (such as swelling or muscle tone), assess range and quality of joint motion, and assess tenderness through tissue deformation (e.g. provoking pain with pressure or stretching). The scientific literature has shown that motion palpation is often unreliable between practitioners. In contrast, manual tests that provoke or relieve pain have been shown to be more reliable.

Palpation is typically used for thoracic and abdominal examinations, and this but can also be used to diagnose edema and to measure the pulse. It is used by veterinarians to check animals for pregnancy, and by midwives to determine the position of a fetus.

ee also

*Physical examination
*Inspection (medicine)
*Percussion (medicine)


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  • palpation — [ palpasjɔ̃ ] n. f. • 1833; de palper ♦ Méd. Examen qui consiste à palper les parties extérieures du corps pour apprécier les caractères physiques des tissus, la sensibilité des organes. ⇒ 2. toucher . Déceler une grosseur à la palpation.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Palpation — Pal*pa tion, n. [L. palpatio, fr. palpare. See {Palpable}.] 1. Act of touching or feeling. [1913 Webster] 2. (Med.) Examination of a patient by touch. Quain. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Palpation — (v. lat.), Erkenntniß der krankhaften Veränderungen des Körpers mittelst Fühlens durch die Finger …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Palpation — (lat.), Betastung, Befühlung …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • palpation — (n.) late 15c., from L. palpationem stroking, flattering, flattery, noun of action from palpare to touch (see FEEL (Cf. feel) (v.)). Used in English in literal sense …   Etymology dictionary

  • palpation — see under palpate at TOUCH vb …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Palpation — Als Palpation (von lateinisch palpare = streicheln) bezeichnet man in der Medizin die Untersuchung des Körpers durch Betasten. Die Palpation ist eines der ältesten Diagnoseverfahren[1] und zählt wie die Inspektion, die Auskultation und die… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • palpation — 1. Examination with the hands, feeling for organs, masses, or infiltration of a part of the body, feeling the heart or pulse beat, vibrations in the chest, etc. 2. Touching, feeling, or perceiving by the …   Medical dictionary

  • palpation — n. the process of examining part of the body by careful feeling with the hands and fingertips. Using palpation it is possible, in many cases, to distinguish between swellings that are solid and those that are cystic (see fluctuation). Palpation… …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • Palpation — Pal|pa|ti|on 〈f. 20; Med.〉 Untersuchung durch Palpieren * * * Palpation   [lateinisch] die, / en, Medizin: Untersuchung durch Abtasten.   Hier finden Sie in Überblicksartikeln weiterführende Informationen:   Anamnese: Gespräch mit dem Arzt und… …   Universal-Lexikon

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