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The term point tenderness usually refers to pain felt when pressure is applied over a specific point on the abdomen.
ConsiderationsThe abdomen is an area of the body a doctor can easily examined by touch. The doctor can feel masses and organs within the abdomen and pinpoint where you feel pain.
Abdominal tenderness spans a spectrum from mild tenderness to severe pain. Rebound tenderness occurs when the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity (the peritoneum) is irritated, inflamed, or infected ( peritonitis ). With peritonitis, the patient will often tense abdominal wall muscles when the abdomen is touched by the doctor. This is called "guarding." Point tenderness is a more general term which defines tenderness in a particular location.
The most common location that shows point tenderness is McBurney's point. This is located by drawing a line from the navel to the highest part of the pelvic bone on the right side (iliac crest). Divide the line into three equal lengths. McBurney's point is 2/3 of the way up from the navel to the iliac crest. Pressure over this point will cause pain in people with symptoms of appendicitis .
Call your health care provider ifAny person with point tenderness should call or present to an emergency room in order to be examined promptly by the health care provider!
During the physical examination, the doctor may ask:
Sometimes, the physical examination will indicate a need for immediate surgery (an exploratory laparotomy or an emergency appendectomy ). This is usually the case if signs of diffuse peritonitis are present.
Update Date: 7/25/2003Hebe Molmenti, M.D., Ph.D., Private practice specializing in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT