Auscultation—The process of listening to sounds that are produced in the body. Direct auscultation uses the ear alone, such as when listening to the grating of a moving joint. Indirect auscultation involves the use of a stethoscope to amplify the sounds from within the body, like a heartbeat.
Hernia—The bulging of an organ, or part of an organ, through the tissues normally containing it; also called a rupture.
Inspection—The visual examination of the body using the eyes and a lighted instrument if needed. The sense of smell may also be used.
Ophthalmoscope—Lighted device for studying the interior of the eyeball.
Otoscope—An instrument with a light for examining the internal ear.
Palpation—The examination of the body using the sense of touch. There are two types: light and deep.
Percussion—An assessment method in which the surface of the body is struck with the fingertips to obtain sounds that can be heard or vibrations that can be felt. It can determine the position, size, and consistency of an internal organ. It is done over the chest to determine the presence of normal air content in the lungs, and over the abdomen to evaluate air in the loops of the intestine.
Reflex—An automatic response to a stimulus.
Speculum—An instrument for enlarging the opening of any canal or cavity in order to facilitate inspection of its interior.
Stethoscope—A Y-shaped instrument that amplifies body sounds such as heartbeat, breathing, and air in the intestine. Used in auscultation.
Varicose veins—The permanent enlargement and twisting of veins, usually in the legs. They are most often seen in people with occupations requiring long periods of standing, and in pregnant women.
Date Published: 2011
Copyright: Gale Encyclopedia of Public Health