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Head and Neck Examination

The head and neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess examination is the portion of the physical examination done to observe for signs of head and neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess disease or illness. The head and neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess examination consists of inspection Inspection Dermatologic Examination, palpation Palpation Application of fingers with light pressure to the surface of the body to determine consistency of parts beneath in physical diagnosis; includes palpation for determining the outlines of organs. Dermatologic Examination, and auscultation. The information gathered from the physical examination of the head and neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess, along with the information from the history, is used by the physician to generate a differential diagnosis and treatment plan for the patient.

Last updated: Sep 8, 2022

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Introduction

The head and neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess examination is often annotated as HEENT (head, eyes, ears, nose Nose The nose is the human body’s primary organ of smell and functions as part of the upper respiratory system. The nose may be best known for inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, but it also contributes to other important functions, such as tasting. The anatomy of the nose can be divided into the external nose and the nasal cavity. Nose and Nasal Cavity: Anatomy and throat Throat The pharynx is a component of the digestive system that lies posterior to the nasal cavity, oral cavity, and larynx. The pharynx can be divided into the oropharynx, nasopharynx, and laryngopharynx. Pharyngeal muscles play an integral role in vital processes such as breathing, swallowing, and speaking. Pharynx: Anatomy) in clinical documentation Documentation Systematic organization, storage, retrieval, and dissemination of specialized information, especially of a scientific or technical nature. It often involves authenticating or validating information. Advance Directives shorthand.

Equipment needed:

  • Otoscope
  • Ophthalmoscope Ophthalmoscope Ophthalmic Exam
  • Tongue Tongue The tongue, on the other hand, is a complex muscular structure that permits tasting and facilitates the process of mastication and communication. The blood supply of the tongue originates from the external carotid artery, and the innervation is through cranial nerves. Lips and Tongue: Anatomy depressor

Positioning: 

  • Individual sits upright with arms at side. 
  • Perform all exams on the undressed individual while preserving the individual’s modesty.
  • Classically, the exam is performed from the right side of the individual.

Environment:

  • Ensure good lighting, privacy, and hygiene. 
  • Drape individual with a sterile Sterile Basic Procedures gown, towel, or sheet.

Initial steps:

  • Explain the exam steps to the individual and obtain consent. 
  • Obtain vital signs including pulse oximetry ( oxygen saturation Oxygen Saturation Basic Procedures).
  • Ask the individual to indicate areas of tenderness to avoid exacerbating pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways

Inspection

The 1st part of the head and neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess exam begins with inspection Inspection Dermatologic Examination of the individual. Note pertinent positive and negative findings. 

General appearance

  • Pertinent positives:
    • Well or no acute distress
    • Comfortable, normal affect
  • Pertinent negatives:
    • In distress (mild, moderate, or severe)
    • Disheveled
    • Evasive or oppositional
  • Level of consciousness: 
    • Alert: normal response
    • Confused: disoriented to surroundings
    • Lethargic: drowsy, needs stimulation to initiate response
    • Obtunded: slowly responding, needs repeated stimulation to maintain attention Attention Focusing on certain aspects of current experience to the exclusion of others. It is the act of heeding or taking notice or concentrating. Psychiatric Assessment
    • Stuporous: minimal response to stimulation
    • Comatose Comatose A profound state of unconsciousness associated with depressed cerebral activity from which the individual cannot be aroused. Coma generally occurs when there is dysfunction or injury involving both cerebral hemispheres or the brain stem reticular formation. Hyponatremia/unresponsive: no response to stimulation
  • Respiratory rate Respiratory rate The number of times an organism breathes with the lungs (respiration) per unit time, usually per minute. Pulmonary Examination ( RR RR Relative risk (RR) is the risk of a disease or condition occurring in a group or population with a particular exposure relative to a control (unexposed) group. Measures of Risk):
    • Normal: RR RR Relative risk (RR) is the risk of a disease or condition occurring in a group or population with a particular exposure relative to a control (unexposed) group. Measures of Risk 12–20/min in adults (pediatric RR RR Relative risk (RR) is the risk of a disease or condition occurring in a group or population with a particular exposure relative to a control (unexposed) group. Measures of Risk varies based on age)
    • Bradypnea: RR RR Relative risk (RR) is the risk of a disease or condition occurring in a group or population with a particular exposure relative to a control (unexposed) group. Measures of Risk < 12/min
    • Tachypnea Tachypnea Increased respiratory rate. Pulmonary Examination: RR RR Relative risk (RR) is the risk of a disease or condition occurring in a group or population with a particular exposure relative to a control (unexposed) group. Measures of Risk > 20/min, shallow breathing
    • Hyperpnea: RR RR Relative risk (RR) is the risk of a disease or condition occurring in a group or population with a particular exposure relative to a control (unexposed) group. Measures of Risk > 20/min, deep breathing
  • Work of breathing Work of breathing Respiratory muscle contraction during inhalation. The work is accomplished in three phases: lung compliance work, that required to expand the lungs against its elastic forces; tissue resistance work, that required to overcome the viscosity of the lung and chest wall structures; and airway resistance work, that required to overcome airway resistance during the movement of air into the lungs. Work of breathing does not refer to expiration, which is entirely a passive process caused by elastic recoil of the lung and chest cage. Pulmonary Examination:

Skull Skull The skull (cranium) is the skeletal structure of the head supporting the face and forming a protective cavity for the brain. The skull consists of 22 bones divided into the viscerocranium (facial skeleton) and the neurocranium. Skull: Anatomy and scalp

  • Classically written as “normocephalic, atraumatic” for normal clinical exam documentation Documentation Systematic organization, storage, retrieval, and dissemination of specialized information, especially of a scientific or technical nature. It often involves authenticating or validating information. Advance Directives (NC/AT for shorthand)
  • Notice any:
    • Asymmetries
    • Deformities
    • Lacerations
    • Signs of trauma
  • Skull Skull The skull (cranium) is the skeletal structure of the head supporting the face and forming a protective cavity for the brain. The skull consists of 22 bones divided into the viscerocranium (facial skeleton) and the neurocranium. Skull: Anatomy shapes:
    • Skull Skull The skull (cranium) is the skeletal structure of the head supporting the face and forming a protective cavity for the brain. The skull consists of 22 bones divided into the viscerocranium (facial skeleton) and the neurocranium. Skull: Anatomy shape varies by:
    • Malformation causes:
      • Congenital Congenital Chorioretinitis disorders
      • Trauma
      • Brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification tumors
      • Scalp swelling Swelling Inflammation
      • Hematomas
      • Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions cancer of the scalp
      • Hydrocephalus Hydrocephalus Excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid within the cranium which may be associated with dilation of cerebral ventricles, intracranial. Subarachnoid Hemorrhage
  • Close inspection Inspection Dermatologic Examination of the scalp by moving the hair is pertinent to a good exam:
    • Start at an area and move the hair in small pieces to inspect the scalp.
    • Systemically go through the entire scalp.
    • Note: Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions cancers can be missed if the exam is not done properly!
Brachycephaly diagram

Variation in skull Skull The skull (cranium) is the skeletal structure of the head supporting the face and forming a protective cavity for the brain. The skull consists of 22 bones divided into the viscerocranium (facial skeleton) and the neurocranium. Skull: Anatomy shape

Image by Lecturio. License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Hair

  • Inspect the hair during the scalp inspection Inspection Dermatologic Examination
  • Hair growth or lack of growth can indicate certain diseases or illnesses:
    • Alopecia Alopecia Alopecia is the loss of hair in areas anywhere on the body where hair normally grows. Alopecia may be defined as scarring or non-scarring, localized or diffuse, congenital or acquired, reversible or permanent, or confined to the scalp or universal; however, alopecia is usually classified using the 1st 3 factors. Alopecia
    • Fungal infection ( ringworm Ringworm Dermatophytes/Tinea Infections)
    • Traumatic hair loss
    • Posterior hair loss in a baby not yet able to rollover

Eyes

Classically written as “pupils equal, round, and reactive to light and accommodation” for normal clinical exam documentation Documentation Systematic organization, storage, retrieval, and dissemination of specialized information, especially of a scientific or technical nature. It often involves authenticating or validating information. Advance Directives (PERRLA for shorthand)

General:

  • Inspect for:
  • Visual acuity Visual Acuity Clarity or sharpness of ocular vision or the ability of the eye to see fine details. Visual acuity depends on the functions of retina, neuronal transmission, and the interpretative ability of the brain. Normal visual acuity is expressed as 20/20 indicating that one can see at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. Visual acuity can also be influenced by brightness, color, and contrast. Ophthalmic Exam: Evaluate using the Snellen chart.
  • Visual fields: Evaluate using the confrontation test Confrontation Test Ophthalmic Exam.

Sclera Sclera The white, opaque, fibrous, outer tunic of the eyeball, covering it entirely excepting the segment covered anteriorly by the cornea. It is essentially avascular but contains apertures for vessels, lymphatics, and nerves. Eye: Anatomy and conjunctiva Conjunctiva The mucous membrane that covers the posterior surface of the eyelids and the anterior pericorneal surface of the eyeball. Eye: Anatomy:

  • Pale conjunctiva Conjunctiva The mucous membrane that covers the posterior surface of the eyelids and the anterior pericorneal surface of the eyeball. Eye: Anatomy: sign of anemia Anemia Anemia is a condition in which individuals have low Hb levels, which can arise from various causes. Anemia is accompanied by a reduced number of RBCs and may manifest with fatigue, shortness of breath, pallor, and weakness. Subtypes are classified by the size of RBCs, chronicity, and etiology. Anemia: Overview and Types
  • Scleral icterus Scleral Icterus Jaundice: sign of jaundice Jaundice Jaundice is the abnormal yellowing of the skin and/or sclera caused by the accumulation of bilirubin. Hyperbilirubinemia is caused by either an increase in bilirubin production or a decrease in the hepatic uptake, conjugation, or excretion of bilirubin. Jaundice
  • Blue sclerae Blue Sclerae Osteogenesis Imperfecta: sign of anemia Anemia Anemia is a condition in which individuals have low Hb levels, which can arise from various causes. Anemia is accompanied by a reduced number of RBCs and may manifest with fatigue, shortness of breath, pallor, and weakness. Subtypes are classified by the size of RBCs, chronicity, and etiology. Anemia: Overview and Types or osteogenesis imperfecta Osteogenesis imperfecta Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), or “brittle bone disease,” is a rare genetic connective tissue disorder characterized by severe bone fragility. Although OI is considered a single disease, OI includes over 16 genotypes and clinical phenotypes with differing symptom severity. Osteogenesis Imperfecta 
  • Injection or redness Redness Inflammation (list not exhaustive): 
    • Sign of glaucoma Glaucoma Glaucoma is an optic neuropathy characterized by typical visual field defects and optic nerve atrophy seen as optic disc cupping on examination. The acute form of glaucoma is a medical emergency. Glaucoma is often, but not always, caused by increased intraocular pressure (IOP). Glaucoma
    • Sign of possible drug use if bilateral
    • Sign of foreign body Foreign Body Foreign Body Aspiration if unilateral

Pupils:

  • Note pupil Pupil The pupil is the space within the eye that permits light to project onto the retina. Anatomically located in front of the lens, the pupil’s size is controlled by the surrounding iris. The pupil provides insight into the function of the central and autonomic nervous systems. Pupil: Physiology and Abnormalities size in millimeters:
    • Normal size is 2–5 mm MM Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant condition of plasma cells (activated B lymphocytes) primarily seen in the elderly. Monoclonal proliferation of plasma cells results in cytokine-driven osteoclastic activity and excessive secretion of IgG antibodies. Multiple Myeloma and equal bilaterally.
    • A difference > 2 mm MM Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant condition of plasma cells (activated B lymphocytes) primarily seen in the elderly. Monoclonal proliferation of plasma cells results in cytokine-driven osteoclastic activity and excessive secretion of IgG antibodies. Multiple Myeloma is considered abnormal ( anisocoria Anisocoria Unequal pupil size, which may represent a benign physiologic variant or a manifestation of disease. Pathologic anisocoria reflects an abnormality in the musculature of the iris (iris diseases) or in the parasympathetic or sympathetic pathways that innervate the pupil. Physiologic anisocoria refers to an asymmetry of pupil diameter, usually less than 2mm, that is not associated with disease. Pupil: Physiology and Abnormalities).
  • Test the pupillary light reflex Pupillary Light Reflex Constriction of the pupil in response to light stimulation of the retina. It refers also to any reflex involving the iris, with resultant alteration of the diameter of the pupil. Pupil: Physiology and Abnormalities:
    • Shine a light into each pupil Pupil The pupil is the space within the eye that permits light to project onto the retina. Anatomically located in front of the lens, the pupil’s size is controlled by the surrounding iris. The pupil provides insight into the function of the central and autonomic nervous systems. Pupil: Physiology and Abnormalities in a dim room to detect pupillary response (constriction).
    • When the light is shined into 1 eye:
      • Ipsilateral pupil Pupil The pupil is the space within the eye that permits light to project onto the retina. Anatomically located in front of the lens, the pupil’s size is controlled by the surrounding iris. The pupil provides insight into the function of the central and autonomic nervous systems. Pupil: Physiology and Abnormalities constriction (direct response)
      • Contralateral pupil Pupil The pupil is the space within the eye that permits light to project onto the retina. Anatomically located in front of the lens, the pupil’s size is controlled by the surrounding iris. The pupil provides insight into the function of the central and autonomic nervous systems. Pupil: Physiology and Abnormalities constriction (consensual response)
    • Note the speed the pupils constrict.
    • An abnormal pupillary light reflex Pupillary Light Reflex Constriction of the pupil in response to light stimulation of the retina. It refers also to any reflex involving the iris, with resultant alteration of the diameter of the pupil. Pupil: Physiology and Abnormalities is slow and can be described as sluggish or nonreactive.
    • Causes of abnormal pupillary light reflex Pupillary Light Reflex Constriction of the pupil in response to light stimulation of the retina. It refers also to any reflex involving the iris, with resultant alteration of the diameter of the pupil. Pupil: Physiology and Abnormalities
      • Optic nerve Optic nerve The 2nd cranial nerve which conveys visual information from the retina to the brain. The nerve carries the axons of the retinal ganglion cells which sort at the optic chiasm and continue via the optic tracts to the brain. The largest projection is to the lateral geniculate nuclei; other targets include the superior colliculi and the suprachiasmatic nuclei. Though known as the second cranial nerve, it is considered part of the central nervous system. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions injury
      • Oculomotor nerve Oculomotor nerve The 3D cranial nerve. The oculomotor nerve sends motor fibers to the levator muscles of the eyelid and to the superior rectus, inferior rectus, and inferior oblique muscles of the eye. It also sends parasympathetic efferents (via the ciliary ganglion) to the muscles controlling pupillary constriction and accommodation. The motor fibers originate in the oculomotor nuclei of the midbrain. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions damage
      • Brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification stem lesions
      • Drug effect (e.g., opiates Opiates Opiates are drugs that are derived from the sap of the opium poppy. Opiates have been used since antiquity for the relief of acute severe pain. Opioids are synthetic opiates with properties that are substantially similar to those of opiates. Opioid Analgesics, barbiturates Barbiturates A class of chemicals derived from barbituric acid or thiobarbituric acid. Many of these are gaba modulators used as hypnotics and sedatives, as anesthetics, or as anticonvulsants. Intravenous Anesthetics)
  • Test for accommodation Accommodation Refractive Errors reflex:
    • The individual is asked to look at a distant object (often a spot on the wall in the room) and then asked to look at a close object (often the examiner’s finger held 6–12 inches in front of the individual). 
    • Watch the individual’s eyes: 
      • Pupils should constrict when moving from the distant object to the close object.
      • Pupils should dilate when moving from the close object to the distant object.
    • Defects in light reaction, but not accommodation Accommodation Refractive Errors, raise concern for syphilis Syphilis Syphilis is a bacterial infection caused by the spirochete Treponema pallidum pallidum (T. p. pallidum), which is usually spread through sexual contact. Syphilis has 4 clinical stages: primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary. Syphilis (Argyll Robertson pupils accommodate but do not react).

Extraocular eye movements:

  • Classically written as “extraocular movements intact” for normal clinical exam documentation (EOMI for shorthand)
  • Instruct the individual to follow the examiner’s finger with the eyes.
  • Watch the individual’s eyes.
  • Move the finger in a “+” and an “H” pattern to test all cranial nerves Cranial nerves There are 12 pairs of cranial nerves (CNs), which run from the brain to various parts of the head, neck, and trunk. The CNs can be sensory or motor or both. The CNs are named and numbered in Roman numerals according to their location, from the front to the back of the brain. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions and the 6 cardinal directions of gaze.
  • Move the finger to the middle and inward, causing the individual to cross the eyes and also test accommodation Accommodation Refractive Errors.
  • Note any deficits:
    • Cranial nerve (CN) palsies
    • Strabismus Strabismus Strabismus is the misalignment of the eyes while fixating the gaze on an object. Strabismus can be idiopathic, but it may also be caused by cerebral palsy, uncorrected refractive errors, and extraocular muscle or cranial nerve dysfunction. Strabismus
    • Nystagmus Nystagmus Involuntary movements of the eye that are divided into two types, jerk and pendular. Jerk nystagmus has a slow phase in one direction followed by a corrective fast phase in the opposite direction, and is usually caused by central or peripheral vestibular dysfunction. Pendular nystagmus features oscillations that are of equal velocity in both directions and this condition is often associated with visual loss early in life. Albinism

Fundoscopic exam: 

  • Performed with an ophthalmoscope Ophthalmoscope Ophthalmic Exam:
    • Choose correct settings.
    • Dim the lights in the room.
    • Have the individual focus on a fixed object straight ahead.
    • Hold the ophthalmoscope Ophthalmoscope Ophthalmic Exam in the RIGHT hand Hand The hand constitutes the distal part of the upper limb and provides the fine, precise movements needed in activities of daily living. It consists of 5 metacarpal bones and 14 phalanges, as well as numerous muscles innervated by the median and ulnar nerves. Hand: Anatomy and use the RIGHT eye Right Eye Refractive Errors to look through the instrument at the individual’s RIGHT eye Right Eye Refractive Errors.
    • With the left hand Hand The hand constitutes the distal part of the upper limb and provides the fine, precise movements needed in activities of daily living. It consists of 5 metacarpal bones and 14 phalanges, as well as numerous muscles innervated by the median and ulnar nerves. Hand: Anatomy, brace the individual’s head.
    • Bring the scope closer to the individual to look for the red reflex Red Reflex Cataracts in Children.
    • Move closer and toward the individual’s nose Nose The nose is the human body’s primary organ of smell and functions as part of the upper respiratory system. The nose may be best known for inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, but it also contributes to other important functions, such as tasting. The anatomy of the nose can be divided into the external nose and the nasal cavity. Nose and Nasal Cavity: Anatomy to look for the optic nerve Optic nerve The 2nd cranial nerve which conveys visual information from the retina to the brain. The nerve carries the axons of the retinal ganglion cells which sort at the optic chiasm and continue via the optic tracts to the brain. The largest projection is to the lateral geniculate nuclei; other targets include the superior colliculi and the suprachiasmatic nuclei. Though known as the second cranial nerve, it is considered part of the central nervous system. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions.
    • Focus the ophthalmoscope Ophthalmoscope Ophthalmic Exam.
    • Observe the cup-to-disc ratio.
    • Scan around to look at the vessels.
    • Observe the macula Macula An oval area in the retina, 3 to 5 mm in diameter, usually located temporal to the posterior pole of the eye and slightly below the level of the optic disk. It is characterized by the presence of a yellow pigment diffusely permeating the inner layers, contains the fovea centralis in its center, and provides the best phototropic visual acuity. It is devoid of retinal blood vessels, except in its periphery, and receives nourishment from the choriocapillaris of the choroid. Eye: Anatomy and fovea Fovea An area approximately 1. 5 millimeters in diameter within the macula lutea where the retina thins out greatly because of the oblique shifting of all layers except the pigment epithelium layer. It includes the sloping walls of the fovea (clivus) and contains a few rods in its periphery. In its center (foveola) are the cones most adapted to yield high visual acuity, each cone being connected to only one ganglion cell. Eye: Anatomy.
    • Repeat for the other eye.
  • Fundoscopic examination:
    • Normal findings: 
      • A pink optic disc Optic disc The portion of the optic nerve seen in the fundus with the ophthalmoscope. It is formed by the meeting of all the retinal ganglion cell axons as they enter the optic nerve. Eye: Anatomy free of hemorrhages or exudates
      • Well-demarcated blood vessels
      • Cup-to-disc ratio: < 0.5
    • Abnormal findings:
      • Hemorrhages/exudates on optic disc Optic disc The portion of the optic nerve seen in the fundus with the ophthalmoscope. It is formed by the meeting of all the retinal ganglion cell axons as they enter the optic nerve. Eye: Anatomy
      • Arteriovenous (AV) nicking/vascular abnormalities
      • Cup-to-disc ratio: > 0.5
      • Optic disc Optic disc The portion of the optic nerve seen in the fundus with the ophthalmoscope. It is formed by the meeting of all the retinal ganglion cell axons as they enter the optic nerve. Eye: Anatomy cupping: glaucoma Glaucoma Glaucoma is an optic neuropathy characterized by typical visual field defects and optic nerve atrophy seen as optic disc cupping on examination. The acute form of glaucoma is a medical emergency. Glaucoma is often, but not always, caused by increased intraocular pressure (IOP). Glaucoma
      • Papilledema Papilledema Swelling of the optic disk, usually in association with increased intracranial pressure, characterized by hyperemia, blurring of the disk margins, microhemorrhages, blind spot enlargement, and engorgement of retinal veins. Chronic papilledema may cause optic atrophy and visual loss. Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension: elevated intracranial pressure Intracranial Pressure Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension
      • Optic neuritis Optic neuritis Inflammation of the optic nerve. Commonly associated conditions include autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, infections, and granulomatous diseases. Clinical features include retro-orbital pain that is aggravated by eye movement, loss of color vision, and contrast sensitivity that may progress to severe visual loss, an afferent pupillary defect (Marcus-Gunn pupil), and in some instances optic disc hyperemia and swelling. Inflammation may occur in the portion of the nerve within the globe (neuropapillitis or anterior optic neuritis) or the portion behind the globe (retrobulbar neuritis or posterior optic neuritis). Cranial Nerve Palsies: infections Infections Invasion of the host organism by microorganisms or their toxins or by parasites that can cause pathological conditions or diseases. Chronic Granulomatous Disease, multiple sclerosis Sclerosis A pathological process consisting of hardening or fibrosis of an anatomical structure, often a vessel or a nerve. Wilms Tumor 

Eye muscle, cranial nerve innervation, and muscle movement:

Table: Eye muscle, cranial nerve innervation, and muscle movement
Eye muscle Cranial nerve innervation Muscle movement
Superior rectus Superior rectus Orbit and Extraocular Muscles: Anatomy Oculomotor (III)
  • Intorsion
  • Elevation
Inferior rectus Inferior rectus Orbit and Extraocular Muscles: Anatomy Oculomotor (III)
Medial rectus Medial rectus Orbit and Extraocular Muscles: Anatomy Oculomotor (III) Adduction Adduction Examination of the Upper Limbs
Inferior oblique Inferior oblique Orbit and Extraocular Muscles: Anatomy Oculomotor (III)
Superior oblique Superior oblique Orbit and Extraocular Muscles: Anatomy Trochlear (IV)
Lateral rectus Lateral rectus Orbit and Extraocular Muscles: Anatomy Abducens (VI) Abduction Abduction Examination of the Upper Limbs
Muscles involved in eye movement

Cranial nerves Cranial nerves There are 12 pairs of cranial nerves (CNs), which run from the brain to various parts of the head, neck, and trunk. The CNs can be sensory or motor or both. The CNs are named and numbered in Roman numerals according to their location, from the front to the back of the brain. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions III, IV, and VI: the innervated muscle and eye movement specific to each muscle
SR: superior rectus Superior rectus Orbit and Extraocular Muscles: Anatomy
IR: inferior rectus Inferior rectus Orbit and Extraocular Muscles: Anatomy
MR MR Calculated as the ratio of the total number of people who die due to all causes over a specific time period to the total number of people in the selected population. Measures of Health Status: medial rectus Medial rectus Orbit and Extraocular Muscles: Anatomy
LR: lateral rectus Lateral rectus Orbit and Extraocular Muscles: Anatomy
IO: inferior oblique Inferior oblique Orbit and Extraocular Muscles: Anatomy
SO: superior oblique Superior oblique Orbit and Extraocular Muscles: Anatomy

Image by Lecturio. License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Mnemonic

Nose Nose The nose is the human body’s primary organ of smell and functions as part of the upper respiratory system. The nose may be best known for inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, but it also contributes to other important functions, such as tasting. The anatomy of the nose can be divided into the external nose and the nasal cavity. Nose and Nasal Cavity: Anatomy

  • Examine the external nose Nose The nose is the human body’s primary organ of smell and functions as part of the upper respiratory system. The nose may be best known for inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, but it also contributes to other important functions, such as tasting. The anatomy of the nose can be divided into the external nose and the nasal cavity. Nose and Nasal Cavity: Anatomy looking for signs of bleeding or discharge.
  • Using an otoscope, examine the nasal mucosa Nasal mucosa The mucous lining of the nasal cavity, including lining of the nostril (vestibule) and the olfactory mucosa. Nasal mucosa consists of ciliated cells, goblet cells, brush cells, small granule cells, basal cells (stem cells) and glands containing both mucous and serous cells. Nose and Nasal Cavity: Anatomy, septum, and turbinates Turbinates The scroll-like bony plates with curved margins on the lateral wall of the nasal cavity. Turbinates, also called nasal concha, increase the surface area of nasal cavity thus providing a mechanism for rapid warming and humidification of air as it passes to the lung. Nose and Nasal Cavity: Anatomy looking for boggy or erythematous mucosa.
Nasal inspection

Nasal inspection Inspection Dermatologic Examination

Image by Lecturio. License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Mouth and throat Throat The pharynx is a component of the digestive system that lies posterior to the nasal cavity, oral cavity, and larynx. The pharynx can be divided into the oropharynx, nasopharynx, and laryngopharynx. Pharyngeal muscles play an integral role in vital processes such as breathing, swallowing, and speaking. Pharynx: Anatomy

  • Ask individuals to remove dentures or partials.
  • Examine the lips Lips The lips are the soft and movable most external parts of the oral cavity. The blood supply of the lips originates from the external carotid artery, and the innervation is through cranial nerves. Lips and Tongue: Anatomy for ulcerations or lesions.
  • Examine the tongue Tongue The tongue, on the other hand, is a complex muscular structure that permits tasting and facilitates the process of mastication and communication. The blood supply of the tongue originates from the external carotid artery, and the innervation is through cranial nerves. Lips and Tongue: Anatomy (top and bottom):
  • Check mucous membranes for lesions and for dryness or moisture.
  • Check the uvula Uvula A fleshy extension at the back of the soft palate that hangs above the opening of the throat. Peritonsillar Abscess is midline.
  • Inspect the tonsils Tonsils Tonsillitis, soft palate Soft palate A movable fold suspended from the posterior border of the hard palate. The uvula hangs from the middle of the lower border. Palate: Anatomy, and posterior pharynx Pharynx The pharynx is a component of the digestive system that lies posterior to the nasal cavity, oral cavity, and larynx. The pharynx can be divided into the oropharynx, nasopharynx, and laryngopharynx. Pharyngeal muscles play an integral role in vital processes such as breathing, swallowing, and speaking. Pharynx: Anatomy.
  • Examine dentition looking for color and decay.
Pharyngeal inspection

Pharyngeal inspection Inspection Dermatologic Examination

Image by Lecturio. License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Ears

  • Inspect the external canal (note any discharge or abnormalities).
  • Perform an otoscope exam to evaluate the internal ear canal and tympanic membrane Tympanic membrane An oval semitransparent membrane separating the external ear canal from the tympanic cavity. It contains three layers: the skin of the external ear canal; the core of radially and circularly arranged collagen fibers; and the mucosa of the middle ear. Ear: Anatomy
    • Gently lift the outside of the ear.
    • Inspect for the presence of any abnormalities such as discharge, redness Redness Inflammation, cerumen Cerumen The yellow or brown waxy secretions produced by vestigial apocrine sweat glands in the external ear canal. Otitis Externa, swelling Swelling Inflammation, or foreign bodies.
    • Signs of normal tympanic membrane Tympanic membrane An oval semitransparent membrane separating the external ear canal from the tympanic cavity. It contains three layers: the skin of the external ear canal; the core of radially and circularly arranged collagen fibers; and the mucosa of the middle ear. Ear: Anatomy:
      • Pearly gray, shiny, translucent
      • No bulging or retraction
      • Smooth in consistency Consistency Dermatologic Examination
      • Light reflex: Cone-shaped reflection of light from the otoscope is seen at 5 o’clock in the right ear and at 7 o’clock in the left ear.
    • Abnormal signs of tympanic membrane Tympanic membrane An oval semitransparent membrane separating the external ear canal from the tympanic cavity. It contains three layers: the skin of the external ear canal; the core of radially and circularly arranged collagen fibers; and the mucosa of the middle ear. Ear: Anatomy:
      • Absence of the light reflex
      • Visible redness Redness Inflammation/bulging (suggests otitis media)
      • Air-fluid level (suggests effusion of the middle ear Middle ear The space and structures directly internal to the tympanic membrane and external to the inner ear (labyrinth). Its major components include the auditory ossicles and the eustachian tube that connects the cavity of middle ear (tympanic cavity) to the upper part of the throat. Acute Otitis Media)
  • Assess hearing:
    • Cranial nerve VIII
    • Rub the fingers together near the individual’s ear and ask the side the individual can hear the rubbing (test random sides and then both).
    • If abnormalities are found, perform the Rinne test and the Weber test.
    • Rinne test: 
      • Strike a tuning fork and place on the mastoid process to test bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types conduction.
      • Strike a tuning fork and place near the ear canal to test air conduction.
      • Ask the individual to count in seconds until the sound disappears.
      • Normal: air conduction time > bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types conduction time
      • Conductive hearing loss Hearing loss Hearing loss, also known as hearing impairment, is any degree of impairment in the ability to apprehend sound as determined by audiometry to be below normal hearing thresholds. Clinical presentation may occur at birth or as a gradual loss of hearing with age, including a short-term or sudden loss at any point. Hearing Loss: air conduction time < bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types conduction time
      • Sensory Sensory Neurons which conduct nerve impulses to the central nervous system. Nervous System: Histology hearing loss Hearing loss Hearing loss, also known as hearing impairment, is any degree of impairment in the ability to apprehend sound as determined by audiometry to be below normal hearing thresholds. Clinical presentation may occur at birth or as a gradual loss of hearing with age, including a short-term or sudden loss at any point. Hearing Loss: air conduction time > bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types conduction time
    • Weber test:
      • Strike a tuning fork and place in the center of the forehead Forehead The part of the face above the eyes. Melasma
      • Ask the individual if the sound is coming from the right or the left.
      • Normal: Sound is equal in both ears.
      • Unilateral conductive hearing loss Hearing loss Hearing loss, also known as hearing impairment, is any degree of impairment in the ability to apprehend sound as determined by audiometry to be below normal hearing thresholds. Clinical presentation may occur at birth or as a gradual loss of hearing with age, including a short-term or sudden loss at any point. Hearing Loss: Vibration Vibration A continuing periodic change in displacement with respect to a fixed reference. Neurological Examination is louder in the affected ear.
      • Unilateral sensory Sensory Neurons which conduct nerve impulses to the central nervous system. Nervous System: Histology hearing loss Hearing loss Hearing loss, also known as hearing impairment, is any degree of impairment in the ability to apprehend sound as determined by audiometry to be below normal hearing thresholds. Clinical presentation may occur at birth or as a gradual loss of hearing with age, including a short-term or sudden loss at any point. Hearing Loss: Vibration Vibration A continuing periodic change in displacement with respect to a fixed reference. Neurological Examination is louder in the normal ear. 

Neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess

  • Notice any obvious deformities, asymmetry Asymmetry Examination of the Upper Limbs, or masses.
  • Visible abnormalities:
    • Inspect for obvious trauma, skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions lesions, or rashes Rashes Rashes are a group of diseases that cause abnormal coloration and texture to the skin. The etiologies are numerous but can include irritation, allergens, infections, or inflammatory conditions. Rashes that present in only 1 area of the body are called localized rashes. Generalized rashes occur diffusely throughout the body. Generalized and Localized Rashes.
    • The thyroid gland Thyroid gland The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body. The thyroid gland is a highly vascular, brownish-red gland located in the visceral compartment of the anterior region of the neck. Thyroid Gland: Anatomy is not normally visible.
    • An enlarged thyroid gland Thyroid gland The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body. The thyroid gland is a highly vascular, brownish-red gland located in the visceral compartment of the anterior region of the neck. Thyroid Gland: Anatomy ( goiter Goiter A goiter is a chronic enlargement of the thyroid gland due to nonneoplastic growth occurring in the setting of hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or euthyroidism. Morphologically, thyroid enlargement can be diffuse (smooth consistency) or nodular (uninodular or multinodular). Goiter) needs further evaluation.
    • Jugular venous distension Jugular Venous Distension Cardiovascular Examination:
      • Tension pneumothorax Pneumothorax A pneumothorax is a life-threatening condition in which air collects in the pleural space, causing partial or full collapse of the lung. A pneumothorax can be traumatic or spontaneous. Patients present with a sudden onset of sharp chest pain, dyspnea, and diminished breath sounds on exam. Pneumothorax 
      • Possible right heart failure Heart Failure A heterogeneous condition in which the heart is unable to pump out sufficient blood to meet the metabolic need of the body. Heart failure can be caused by structural defects, functional abnormalities (ventricular dysfunction), or a sudden overload beyond its capacity. Chronic heart failure is more common than acute heart failure which results from sudden insult to cardiac function, such as myocardial infarction. Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR)
      • Fluid-volume retention state
  • Assess the range of motion Range of motion The distance and direction to which a bone joint can be extended. Range of motion is a function of the condition of the joints, muscles, and connective tissues involved. Joint flexibility can be improved through appropriate muscle strength exercises. Examination of the Upper Limbs of the cervical spine Spine The human spine, or vertebral column, is the most important anatomical and functional axis of the human body. It consists of 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, and 5 lumbar vertebrae and is limited cranially by the skull and caudally by the sacrum. Vertebral Column: Anatomy by asking the individual to:
    • Look up as high as possible (normal: 70° of extension Extension Examination of the Upper Limbs)
    • Touch chin Chin The anatomical frontal portion of the mandible, also known as the mentum, that contains the line of fusion of the two separate halves of the mandible (symphysis menti). This line of fusion divides inferiorly to enclose a triangular area called the mental protuberance. On each side, inferior to the second premolar tooth, is the mental foramen for the passage of blood vessels and a nerve. Melasma to chest (normal: 80°–90° of flexion Flexion Examination of the Upper Limbs)
    • Turn head right/left as far as possible (normal: 90° of rotation Rotation Motion of an object in which either one or more points on a line are fixed. It is also the motion of a particle about a fixed point. X-rays)
    • Touch right/left ear to shoulder (normal: 20°–45° of lateral flexion Flexion Examination of the Upper Limbs)

Palpation

Skull Skull The skull (cranium) is the skeletal structure of the head supporting the face and forming a protective cavity for the brain. The skull consists of 22 bones divided into the viscerocranium (facial skeleton) and the neurocranium. Skull: Anatomy and scalp

  • Note any tenderness or swelling Swelling Inflammation.
  • Palpate to feel skull Skull The skull (cranium) is the skeletal structure of the head supporting the face and forming a protective cavity for the brain. The skull consists of 22 bones divided into the viscerocranium (facial skeleton) and the neurocranium. Skull: Anatomy shape and deformity Deformity Examination of the Upper Limbs.
  • In individuals with trauma, note dimensions of:
  • Hair texture Texture Dermatologic Examination:
    • Brittle and coarse: hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by a deficiency of thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause worldwide, but Hashimoto’s disease (autoimmune thyroiditis) is the leading cause in non-iodine-deficient regions. Hypothyroidism (also causes loss of the hair on the outer edges of the eyebrows)
    • Extra fine and soft: hyperthyroidism Hyperthyroidism Hypersecretion of thyroid hormones from the thyroid gland. Elevated levels of thyroid hormones increase basal metabolic rate. Thyrotoxicosis and Hyperthyroidism

Face

Palpate the sinuses:

  • Technique:
    • Gently tap the frontal Frontal The bone that forms the frontal aspect of the skull. Its flat part forms the forehead, articulating inferiorly with the nasal bone and the cheek bone on each side of the face. Skull: Anatomy and maxillary sinuses bilaterally.
    • Work systematically, top to bottom, comparing left with right.
  • Assess for:
    • Areas of tenderness (a sign of sinusitis Sinusitis Sinusitis refers to inflammation of the mucosal lining of the paranasal sinuses. The condition usually occurs concurrently with inflammation of the nasal mucosa (rhinitis), a condition known as rhinosinusitis. Acute sinusitis is due to an upper respiratory infection caused by a viral, bacterial, or fungal agent. Sinusitis)
    • Swelling Swelling Inflammation
    • Subcutaneous emphysema Emphysema Enlargement of air spaces distal to the terminal bronchioles where gas-exchange normally takes place. This is usually due to destruction of the alveolar wall. Pulmonary emphysema can be classified by the location and distribution of the lesions. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Palpation/percussion of the frontal sinuses

Palpation Palpation Application of fingers with light pressure to the surface of the body to determine consistency of parts beneath in physical diagnosis; includes palpation for determining the outlines of organs. Dermatologic Examination/ percussion Percussion Act of striking a part with short, sharp blows as an aid in diagnosing the condition beneath the sound obtained. Pulmonary Examination of the frontal Frontal The bone that forms the frontal aspect of the skull. Its flat part forms the forehead, articulating inferiorly with the nasal bone and the cheek bone on each side of the face. Skull: Anatomy sinuses

Image by Lecturio. License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Ears

  • Palpate for tragal tenderness. 
  • Palpate preauricular and postauricular lymph Lymph The interstitial fluid that is in the lymphatic system. Secondary Lymphatic Organs nodes. 
  • Palpate the mastoid process and gently move the auricle up and down. 
  • Tenderness may indicate:
    • Otitis externa Otitis externa Otitis externa (also known as external otitis or swimmer’s ear) is an infection of the external auditory canal that is most often caused by acute bacterial infection and is frequently associated with hot, humid weather and water exposure. Patients commonly present with ear pain, pruritus, discharge, and hearing loss. Otitis Externa
    • Mastoiditis Mastoiditis Inflammation of the honeycomb-like mastoid bone in the skull just behind the ear. It is usually a complication of otitis media. Mumps Virus/Mumps
Mastoiditis

Mastoiditis Mastoiditis Inflammation of the honeycomb-like mastoid bone in the skull just behind the ear. It is usually a complication of otitis media. Mumps Virus/Mumps

Image by Lecturio. License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Mouth and throat Throat The pharynx is a component of the digestive system that lies posterior to the nasal cavity, oral cavity, and larynx. The pharynx can be divided into the oropharynx, nasopharynx, and laryngopharynx. Pharyngeal muscles play an integral role in vital processes such as breathing, swallowing, and speaking. Pharynx: Anatomy

  • Palpate under the tongue Tongue The tongue, on the other hand, is a complex muscular structure that permits tasting and facilitates the process of mastication and communication. The blood supply of the tongue originates from the external carotid artery, and the innervation is through cranial nerves. Lips and Tongue: Anatomy for:
    • Bogginess
    • Swelling Swelling Inflammation
    • Tenderness
    • Lymphadenopathy Lymphadenopathy Lymphadenopathy is lymph node enlargement (> 1 cm) and is benign and self-limited in most patients. Etiologies include malignancy, infection, and autoimmune disorders, as well as iatrogenic causes such as the use of certain medications. Generalized lymphadenopathy often indicates underlying systemic disease. Lymphadenopathy
    • Hypertrophy Hypertrophy General increase in bulk of a part or organ due to cell enlargement and accumulation of fluids and secretions, not due to tumor formation, nor to an increase in the number of cells (hyperplasia). Cellular Adaptation of the salivary gland Salivary gland Glands that secrete saliva in the mouth. There are three pairs of salivary glands (parotid gland; sublingual gland; submandibular gland). Diseases of the Salivary Glands
  • Tap the tooth with a tongue Tongue The tongue, on the other hand, is a complex muscular structure that permits tasting and facilitates the process of mastication and communication. The blood supply of the tongue originates from the external carotid artery, and the innervation is through cranial nerves. Lips and Tongue: Anatomy depressor to check for dental tenderness.
Examination of the floor of the mouth

Examination of the floor of the mouth

Image by Lecturio. License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess

Palpate tracheal position: 

  • Technique:
    • Use the pads of the fingers to gently feel the area of the thyroid Thyroid The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body. The thyroid gland is a highly vascular, brownish-red gland located in the visceral compartment of the anterior region of the neck. Thyroid Gland: Anatomy.
    • Use both hands to feel both sides simultaneously and compare.
  • Assess for:

Thyroid Thyroid The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body. The thyroid gland is a highly vascular, brownish-red gland located in the visceral compartment of the anterior region of the neck. Thyroid Gland: Anatomy:

  • The normal thyroid Thyroid The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body. The thyroid gland is a highly vascular, brownish-red gland located in the visceral compartment of the anterior region of the neck. Thyroid Gland: Anatomy is usually not palpable. 
  • Palpation Palpation Application of fingers with light pressure to the surface of the body to determine consistency of parts beneath in physical diagnosis; includes palpation for determining the outlines of organs. Dermatologic Examination is done with a posterior approach. 
  • Stand behind the individual and attempt to locate the thyroid Thyroid The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body. The thyroid gland is a highly vascular, brownish-red gland located in the visceral compartment of the anterior region of the neck. Thyroid Gland: Anatomy isthmus Isthmus Uterus, Cervix, and Fallopian Tubes: Anatomy by palpating below the thyroid Thyroid The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body. The thyroid gland is a highly vascular, brownish-red gland located in the visceral compartment of the anterior region of the neck. Thyroid Gland: Anatomy cartilage Cartilage Cartilage is a type of connective tissue derived from embryonic mesenchyme that is responsible for structural support, resilience, and the smoothness of physical actions. Perichondrium (connective tissue membrane surrounding cartilage) compensates for the absence of vasculature in cartilage by providing nutrition and support. Cartilage: Histology.
  • Assess the size and consistency Consistency Dermatologic Examination of the thyroid Thyroid The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body. The thyroid gland is a highly vascular, brownish-red gland located in the visceral compartment of the anterior region of the neck. Thyroid Gland: Anatomy.
  • Ask the individual to swallow a sip of water as you palpate.
  • Feel for the upward movement of the thyroid gland Thyroid gland The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body. The thyroid gland is a highly vascular, brownish-red gland located in the visceral compartment of the anterior region of the neck. Thyroid Gland: Anatomy.
Patient from south sudan with a goiter

Goiter Goiter A goiter is a chronic enlargement of the thyroid gland due to nonneoplastic growth occurring in the setting of hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or euthyroidism. Morphologically, thyroid enlargement can be diffuse (smooth consistency) or nodular (uninodular or multinodular). Goiter: Note the massive enlargement of the thyroid Thyroid The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body. The thyroid gland is a highly vascular, brownish-red gland located in the visceral compartment of the anterior region of the neck. Thyroid Gland: Anatomy.

Image: “ Iodine Iodine A nonmetallic element of the halogen group that is represented by the atomic symbol I, atomic number 53, and atomic weight of 126. 90. It is a nutritionally essential element, especially important in thyroid hormone synthesis. In solution, it has anti-infective properties and is used topically. Thyroid Hormones deficiency among goiter Goiter A goiter is a chronic enlargement of the thyroid gland due to nonneoplastic growth occurring in the setting of hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or euthyroidism. Morphologically, thyroid enlargement can be diffuse (smooth consistency) or nodular (uninodular or multinodular). Goiter patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship in rural South Sudan” by Chuot CC, Galukande M, Ibingira C, Kisa N, Fualal JO. License: CC BY 2.0

Lymph Lymph The interstitial fluid that is in the lymphatic system. Secondary Lymphatic Organs nodes of the head and neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess:

Enlarged and/or tender lymph Lymph The interstitial fluid that is in the lymphatic system. Secondary Lymphatic Organs nodes ( lymphadenopathy Lymphadenopathy Lymphadenopathy is lymph node enlargement (> 1 cm) and is benign and self-limited in most patients. Etiologies include malignancy, infection, and autoimmune disorders, as well as iatrogenic causes such as the use of certain medications. Generalized lymphadenopathy often indicates underlying systemic disease. Lymphadenopathy) may indicate:

  • Acute infectious process:
    • Streptococcal pharyngitis Streptococcal Pharyngitis Rheumatic Fever (anterior chain)
    • Otitis media (posterior chain)
    • Tuberculosis Tuberculosis Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex bacteria. The bacteria usually attack the lungs but can also damage other parts of the body. Approximately 30% of people around the world are infected with this pathogen, with the majority harboring a latent infection. Tuberculosis spreads through the air when a person with active pulmonary infection coughs or sneezes. Tuberculosis
    • Infectious mononucleosis Mononucleosis Infectious mononucleosis (IM), also known as “the kissing disease,” is a highly contagious viral infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. Its common name is derived from its main method of transmission: the spread of infected saliva via kissing. Clinical manifestations of IM include fever, tonsillar pharyngitis, and lymphadenopathy. Mononucleosis
    • Human immunodeficiency Immunodeficiency Chédiak-Higashi Syndrome virus Virus Viruses are infectious, obligate intracellular parasites composed of a nucleic acid core surrounded by a protein capsid. Viruses can be either naked (non-enveloped) or enveloped. The classification of viruses is complex and based on many factors, including type and structure of the nucleoid and capsid, the presence of an envelope, the replication cycle, and the host range. Virology ( HIV HIV Anti-HIV Drugs
  • Malignancy Malignancy Hemothorax: Specific lymph Lymph The interstitial fluid that is in the lymphatic system. Secondary Lymphatic Organs groups drain specific regions.
Head and neck lymp nodes

Head and neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess lymph Lymph The interstitial fluid that is in the lymphatic system. Secondary Lymphatic Organs nodes

Image by Lecturio. License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Table: Malignancy Malignancy Hemothorax
Level and nodal groups Cancer sites of lymphatic spread
Submental and submandibular nodes
  • Lip, anterior tongue Tongue The tongue, on the other hand, is a complex muscular structure that permits tasting and facilitates the process of mastication and communication. The blood supply of the tongue originates from the external carotid artery, and the innervation is through cranial nerves. Lips and Tongue: Anatomy, floor of mouth
  • Gingiva, buccal mucosa Buccal mucosa Oral Cancer
Upper jugulodigastric group
  • Oral cavity
  • Pharynx Pharynx The pharynx is a component of the digestive system that lies posterior to the nasal cavity, oral cavity, and larynx. The pharynx can be divided into the oropharynx, nasopharynx, and laryngopharynx. Pharyngeal muscles play an integral role in vital processes such as breathing, swallowing, and speaking. Pharynx: Anatomy
  • Larynx Larynx The larynx, also commonly called the voice box, is a cylindrical space located in the neck at the level of the C3-C6 vertebrae. The major structures forming the framework of the larynx are the thyroid cartilage, cricoid cartilage, and epiglottis. The larynx serves to produce sound (phonation), conducts air to the trachea, and prevents large molecules from reaching the lungs. Larynx: Anatomy
Middle jugular nodes
  • Nasopharynx Nasopharynx The top portion of the pharynx situated posterior to the nose and superior to the soft palate. The nasopharynx is the posterior extension of the nasal cavities and has a respiratory function. Pharynx: Anatomy, oropharynx Oropharynx The middle portion of the pharynx that lies posterior to the mouth, inferior to the soft palate, and superior to the base of the tongue and epiglottis. It has a digestive function as food passes from the mouth into the oropharynx before entering esophagus. Pharynx: Anatomy
  • Oral cavity
  • Larynx Larynx The larynx, also commonly called the voice box, is a cylindrical space located in the neck at the level of the C3-C6 vertebrae. The major structures forming the framework of the larynx are the thyroid cartilage, cricoid cartilage, and epiglottis. The larynx serves to produce sound (phonation), conducts air to the trachea, and prevents large molecules from reaching the lungs. Larynx: Anatomy
Inferior jugular nodes
  • Hypopharynx
  • Subglottic larynx Larynx The larynx, also commonly called the voice box, is a cylindrical space located in the neck at the level of the C3-C6 vertebrae. The major structures forming the framework of the larynx are the thyroid cartilage, cricoid cartilage, and epiglottis. The larynx serves to produce sound (phonation), conducts air to the trachea, and prevents large molecules from reaching the lungs. Larynx: Anatomy
  • Esophagus Esophagus The esophagus is a muscular tube-shaped organ of around 25 centimeters in length that connects the pharynx to the stomach. The organ extends from approximately the 6th cervical vertebra to the 11th thoracic vertebra and can be divided grossly into 3 parts: the cervical part, the thoracic part, and the abdominal part. Esophagus: Anatomy
Posterior triangle Posterior triangle Triangles of the Neck: Anatomy group Back of skull Skull The skull (cranium) is the skeletal structure of the head supporting the face and forming a protective cavity for the brain. The skull consists of 22 bones divided into the viscerocranium (facial skeleton) and the neurocranium. Skull: Anatomy
Anterior compartment group
  • Throat Throat The pharynx is a component of the digestive system that lies posterior to the nasal cavity, oral cavity, and larynx. The pharynx can be divided into the oropharynx, nasopharynx, and laryngopharynx. Pharyngeal muscles play an integral role in vital processes such as breathing, swallowing, and speaking. Pharynx: Anatomy, tonsils Tonsils Tonsillitis, thyroid Thyroid The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body. The thyroid gland is a highly vascular, brownish-red gland located in the visceral compartment of the anterior region of the neck. Thyroid Gland: Anatomy
  • Posterior pharynx Pharynx The pharynx is a component of the digestive system that lies posterior to the nasal cavity, oral cavity, and larynx. The pharynx can be divided into the oropharynx, nasopharynx, and laryngopharynx. Pharyngeal muscles play an integral role in vital processes such as breathing, swallowing, and speaking. Pharynx: Anatomy

Auscultation

  • Auscultation is done with the diaphragm Diaphragm The diaphragm is a large, dome-shaped muscle that separates the thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity. The diaphragm consists of muscle fibers and a large central tendon, which is divided into right and left parts. As the primary muscle of inspiration, the diaphragm contributes 75% of the total inspiratory muscle force. Diaphragm: Anatomy or bell of a stethoscope on unclothed skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions.
  • Auscultate the carotid arteries Carotid Arteries Either of the two principal arteries on both sides of the neck that supply blood to the head and neck; each divides into two branches, the internal carotid artery and the external carotid artery. Carotid Arterial System: Anatomy with the bell of the stethoscope listening for a bruit (swooshing sound):
    • Carotid bruits indicate the presence of significant carotid artery stenosis Carotid artery stenosis Carotid artery stenosis is a chronic atherosclerotic disease resulting in narrowing of the common and internal carotid arteries. Common risk factors include family history, advanced age, hyperlipidemia, smoking, and diabetes mellitus. Patients may present with or without symptoms of decreased cerebral perfusion. Carotid Artery Stenosis.
    • A bruit results from turbulent, nonlaminar flow Flow Blood flows through the heart, arteries, capillaries, and veins in a closed, continuous circuit. Flow is the movement of volume per unit of time. Flow is affected by the pressure gradient and the resistance fluid encounters between 2 points. Vascular resistance is the opposition to flow, which is caused primarily by blood friction against vessel walls. Vascular Resistance, Flow, and Mean Arterial Pressure through a stenotic lesion.

Special Exams and Red Flags

Special exams

Table: Special exams
Cranial nerve Examination
CN I: olfactory nerve Olfactory nerve The 1st cranial nerve. The olfactory nerve conveys the sense of smell. It is formed by the axons of olfactory receptor neurons which project from the olfactory epithelium (in the nasal epithelium) to the olfactory bulb. Nose and Nasal Cavity: Anatomy
  • Test the olfaction Olfaction The sense of smell, or olfaction, begins in a small area on the roof of the nasal cavity, which is covered in specialized mucosa. From there, the olfactory nerve transmits the sensory perception of smell via the olfactory pathway. This pathway is composed of the olfactory cells and bulb, the tractus and striae olfactoriae, and the primary olfactory cortex and amygdala. Olfaction: Anatomy of the individual using nonirritating substances and familiar scents.
  • Common to use an alcohol swab
CN II: optic nerve Optic nerve The 2nd cranial nerve which conveys visual information from the retina to the brain. The nerve carries the axons of the retinal ganglion cells which sort at the optic chiasm and continue via the optic tracts to the brain. The largest projection is to the lateral geniculate nuclei; other targets include the superior colliculi and the suprachiasmatic nuclei. Though known as the second cranial nerve, it is considered part of the central nervous system. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions
  • Visual acuity Visual Acuity Clarity or sharpness of ocular vision or the ability of the eye to see fine details. Visual acuity depends on the functions of retina, neuronal transmission, and the interpretative ability of the brain. Normal visual acuity is expressed as 20/20 indicating that one can see at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. Visual acuity can also be influenced by brightness, color, and contrast. Ophthalmic Exam: Evaluate using the Snellen chart.
  • Visual fields: Evaluate using the confrontation test Confrontation Test Ophthalmic Exam.
  • Pupillary light reflex Pupillary Light Reflex Constriction of the pupil in response to light stimulation of the retina. It refers also to any reflex involving the iris, with resultant alteration of the diameter of the pupil. Pupil: Physiology and Abnormalities: Shine a light in the individual’s eye to test bilateral pupillary constriction.
  • Fundoscopic examination
CN III, IV, VI: oculomotor nerve Oculomotor nerve The 3D cranial nerve. The oculomotor nerve sends motor fibers to the levator muscles of the eyelid and to the superior rectus, inferior rectus, and inferior oblique muscles of the eye. It also sends parasympathetic efferents (via the ciliary ganglion) to the muscles controlling pupillary constriction and accommodation. The motor fibers originate in the oculomotor nuclei of the midbrain. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions, trochlear nerve Trochlear nerve The 4th cranial nerve. The trochlear nerve carries the motor innervation of the superior oblique muscles of the eye. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions, and abducens nerve Abducens nerve The 6th cranial nerve which originates in the abducens nucleus of the pons and sends motor fibers to the lateral rectus muscles of the eye. Damage to the nerve or its nucleus disrupts horizontal eye movement control. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions
  • Responsible for eye movement and accommodation Accommodation Refractive Errors
  • Eye movement: tested by asking the individual to follow the examiner’s finger
  • Accommodation Accommodation Refractive Errors:
    • Ask the individual to look at an object from distant to near, and then back to distant.
    • Normal response is constriction of the pupil Pupil The pupil is the space within the eye that permits light to project onto the retina. Anatomically located in front of the lens, the pupil’s size is controlled by the surrounding iris. The pupil provides insight into the function of the central and autonomic nervous systems. Pupil: Physiology and Abnormalities when looking from distant-to-near objects and dilation of the pupil Pupil The pupil is the space within the eye that permits light to project onto the retina. Anatomically located in front of the lens, the pupil’s size is controlled by the surrounding iris. The pupil provides insight into the function of the central and autonomic nervous systems. Pupil: Physiology and Abnormalities when looking from near-to-distant objects.
CN V: trigeminal nerve Trigeminal nerve The 5th and largest cranial nerve. The trigeminal nerve is a mixed motor and sensory nerve. The larger sensory part forms the ophthalmic, mandibular, and maxillary nerves which carry afferents sensitive to external or internal stimuli from the skin, muscles, and joints of the face and mouth and from the teeth. Most of these fibers originate from cells of the trigeminal ganglion and project to the trigeminal nucleus of the brain stem. The smaller motor part arises from the brain stem trigeminal motor nucleus and innervates the muscles of mastication. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions
  • Responsible for facial sensation: tested by lightly touching the different facial areas ( forehead Forehead The part of the face above the eyes. Melasma (V1), cheek (V2), jaw Jaw The jaw is made up of the mandible, which comprises the lower jaw, and the maxilla, which comprises the upper jaw. The mandible articulates with the temporal bone via the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The 4 muscles of mastication produce the movements of the TMJ to ensure the efficient chewing of food. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy (V3)) and comparing both sides
  • Innervates the anterior ⅔ of the tongue Tongue The tongue, on the other hand, is a complex muscular structure that permits tasting and facilitates the process of mastication and communication. The blood supply of the tongue originates from the external carotid artery, and the innervation is through cranial nerves. Lips and Tongue: Anatomy with general sensations (e.g., pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways and temperature)
  • Innervates the muscles of mastication Mastication The act and process of chewing and grinding food in the mouth. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy: testing strength and symmetry by asking the individual to clench the jaw Jaw The jaw is made up of the mandible, which comprises the lower jaw, and the maxilla, which comprises the upper jaw. The mandible articulates with the temporal bone via the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The 4 muscles of mastication produce the movements of the TMJ to ensure the efficient chewing of food. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy
  • Reflexes:
    • Masseter Masseter A masticatory muscle whose action is closing the jaws. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy reflex:
      • With a reflex hammer, tap on the individual’s chin Chin The anatomical frontal portion of the mandible, also known as the mentum, that contains the line of fusion of the two separate halves of the mandible (symphysis menti). This line of fusion divides inferiorly to enclose a triangular area called the mental protuberance. On each side, inferior to the second premolar tooth, is the mental foramen for the passage of blood vessels and a nerve. Melasma while the individual’s mouth remains slightly open.
      • Normal finding is jaw Jaw The jaw is made up of the mandible, which comprises the lower jaw, and the maxilla, which comprises the upper jaw. The mandible articulates with the temporal bone via the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The 4 muscles of mastication produce the movements of the TMJ to ensure the efficient chewing of food. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy closure.
    • Corneal reflex:
      • Lightly touch the cornea Cornea The transparent anterior portion of the fibrous coat of the eye consisting of five layers: stratified squamous corneal epithelium; bowman membrane; corneal stroma; descemet membrane; and mesenchymal corneal endothelium. It serves as the first refracting medium of the eye. Eye: Anatomy with a cotton swab.
      • Normal finding is closing of the eyelid (blinking).
  • In trigeminal nerve Trigeminal nerve The 5th and largest cranial nerve. The trigeminal nerve is a mixed motor and sensory nerve. The larger sensory part forms the ophthalmic, mandibular, and maxillary nerves which carry afferents sensitive to external or internal stimuli from the skin, muscles, and joints of the face and mouth and from the teeth. Most of these fibers originate from cells of the trigeminal ganglion and project to the trigeminal nucleus of the brain stem. The smaller motor part arises from the brain stem trigeminal motor nucleus and innervates the muscles of mastication. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions injuries, the jaw Jaw The jaw is made up of the mandible, which comprises the lower jaw, and the maxilla, which comprises the upper jaw. The mandible articulates with the temporal bone via the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The 4 muscles of mastication produce the movements of the TMJ to ensure the efficient chewing of food. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy deviates towards the affected side.
CN VII: facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions
  • Innervates facial expression muscles
  • Tested by asking the individual to perform certain movements (e.g., forehead Forehead The part of the face above the eyes. Melasma wrinkling, closing the eyes tightly, inflating the cheeks Cheeks The part of the face that is below the eye and to the side of the nose and mouth. Melasma, smiling, and whistling)
  • Innervates the anterior ⅔ of the tongue Tongue The tongue, on the other hand, is a complex muscular structure that permits tasting and facilitates the process of mastication and communication. The blood supply of the tongue originates from the external carotid artery, and the innervation is through cranial nerves. Lips and Tongue: Anatomy with special sensation (sweet, salty, and sour)
CN VIII: vestibulocochlear nerve Vestibulocochlear nerve The 8th cranial nerve. The vestibulocochlear nerve has a cochlear part (cochlear nerve) which is concerned with hearing and a vestibular part (vestibular nerve) which mediates the sense of balance and head position. The fibers of the cochlear nerve originate from neurons of the spiral ganglion and project to the cochlear nuclei (cochlear nucleus). The fibers of the vestibular nerve arise from neurons of scarpa’s ganglion and project to the vestibular nuclei. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions
  • Tested by rubbing the fingers together near the ear
  • Weber and Rinne test (differentiates sensory Sensory Neurons which conduct nerve impulses to the central nervous system. Nervous System: Histology or conductive hearing loss Hearing loss Hearing loss, also known as hearing impairment, is any degree of impairment in the ability to apprehend sound as determined by audiometry to be below normal hearing thresholds. Clinical presentation may occur at birth or as a gradual loss of hearing with age, including a short-term or sudden loss at any point. Hearing Loss)
CN IX, X: glossopharyngeal nerve Glossopharyngeal nerve The 9th cranial nerve. The glossopharyngeal nerve is a mixed motor and sensory nerve; it conveys somatic and autonomic efferents as well as general, special, and visceral afferents. Among the connections are motor fibers to the stylopharyngeus muscle, parasympathetic fibers to the parotid glands, general and taste afferents from the posterior third of the tongue, the nasopharynx, and the palate, and afferents from baroreceptors and chemoreceptor cells of the carotid sinus. Pharynx: Anatomy and vagus nerve Vagus nerve The 10th cranial nerve. The vagus is a mixed nerve which contains somatic afferents (from skin in back of the ear and the external auditory meatus), visceral afferents (from the pharynx, larynx, thorax, and abdomen), parasympathetic efferents (to the thorax and abdomen), and efferents to striated muscle (of the larynx and pharynx). Pharynx: Anatomy
  • Tested by evaluating the uvula Uvula A fleshy extension at the back of the soft palate that hangs above the opening of the throat. Peritonsillar Abscess:
    • Normally: centrally located
    • Abnormally: deviates towards the normal side
  • Responsible for the gag reflex Gag Reflex Cranial Nerve Palsies: tested by lightly touching the uvula Uvula A fleshy extension at the back of the soft palate that hangs above the opening of the throat. Peritonsillar Abscess with a tongue Tongue The tongue, on the other hand, is a complex muscular structure that permits tasting and facilitates the process of mastication and communication. The blood supply of the tongue originates from the external carotid artery, and the innervation is through cranial nerves. Lips and Tongue: Anatomy depressor
  • CN IX innervates the posterior ⅓ of the tongue Tongue The tongue, on the other hand, is a complex muscular structure that permits tasting and facilitates the process of mastication and communication. The blood supply of the tongue originates from the external carotid artery, and the innervation is through cranial nerves. Lips and Tongue: Anatomy with general and special sensation.
  • Hoarseness Hoarseness An unnaturally deep or rough quality of voice. Parapharyngeal Abscess or impaired cough reflex indicates damage to CN X.
CN XI: accessory nerve
  • Innervates the trapezius muscle: Ask the individual to elevate the shoulders against resistance Resistance Physiologically, the opposition to flow of air caused by the forces of friction. As a part of pulmonary function testing, it is the ratio of driving pressure to the rate of air flow. Ventilation: Mechanics of Breathing.
  • Innervates the sternocleidomastoid Sternocleidomastoid Muscles of the Neck: Anatomy muscle: Ask the individual to rotate the head against resistance Resistance Physiologically, the opposition to flow of air caused by the forces of friction. As a part of pulmonary function testing, it is the ratio of driving pressure to the rate of air flow. Ventilation: Mechanics of Breathing.
CN XII: hypoglossal nerve Hypoglossal nerve The 12th cranial nerve. The hypoglossal nerve originates in the hypoglossal nucleus of the medulla and supplies motor innervation to all of the muscles of the tongue except the palatoglossus (which is supplied by the vagus). This nerve also contains proprioceptive afferents from the tongue muscles. Lips and Tongue: Anatomy
  • Innervates the tongue Tongue The tongue, on the other hand, is a complex muscular structure that permits tasting and facilitates the process of mastication and communication. The blood supply of the tongue originates from the external carotid artery, and the innervation is through cranial nerves. Lips and Tongue: Anatomy muscles: tested by asking the individual to press against the cheek from the inside, while the examiner evaluates the strength from the outside
  • In CN XII injury, the tongue Tongue The tongue, on the other hand, is a complex muscular structure that permits tasting and facilitates the process of mastication and communication. The blood supply of the tongue originates from the external carotid artery, and the innervation is through cranial nerves. Lips and Tongue: Anatomy deviates toward the site of injury.

Red flags

Table: Important red flags found during head and neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess examination
Region Findings Possible cause
Face
  • Cranial nerve palsies Cranial Nerve Palsies Cranial nerve palsy is a congenital or acquired dysfunction of 1 or more cranial nerves that will, in turn, lead to focal neurologic abnormalities in movement or autonomic dysfunction of its territory. Head/neck trauma, mass effect, infectious processes, and ischemia/infarction are among the many etiologies for these dysfunctions. Diagnosis is initially clinical and supported by diagnostic aids. Management includes both symptomatic measures and interventions aimed at correcting the underlying cause. Cranial Nerve Palsies
  • Stroke
Neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess
  • Nuchal rigidity Nuchal Rigidity Meningitis
  • Range of motion Range of motion The distance and direction to which a bone joint can be extended. Range of motion is a function of the condition of the joints, muscles, and connective tissues involved. Joint flexibility can be improved through appropriate muscle strength exercises. Examination of the Upper Limbs
  • Meningitis Meningitis Meningitis is inflammation of the meninges, the protective membranes of the brain, and spinal cord. The causes of meningitis are varied, with the most common being bacterial or viral infection. The classic presentation of meningitis is a triad of fever, altered mental status, and nuchal rigidity. Meningitis
  • Cervical spine Spine The human spine, or vertebral column, is the most important anatomical and functional axis of the human body. It consists of 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, and 5 lumbar vertebrae and is limited cranially by the skull and caudally by the sacrum. Vertebral Column: Anatomy injury
Eyes
  • Ptosis Ptosis Cranial Nerve Palsies, myosis, anhidrosis: Horner syndrome Horner syndrome Horner syndrome is a condition resulting from an interruption of the sympathetic innervation of the eyes. The syndrome is usually idiopathic but can be directly caused by head and neck trauma, cerebrovascular disease, or a tumor of the CNS. Horner Syndrome
  • Xanthelasma Xanthelasma Primary Biliary Cholangitis: primary biliary cholangitis Primary Biliary Cholangitis Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) is a chronic disease resulting in autoimmune destruction of the intrahepatic bile ducts. The typical presentation is that of a middle-aged woman with pruritus, fatigue, and right upper quadrant abdominal pain. Elevated liver enzymes and antimitochondrial antibodies (AMAs) establish the diagnosis. Primary Biliary Cholangitis
  • Exophthalmos: Graves disease
Mouth
  • Strawberry tongue Tongue The tongue, on the other hand, is a complex muscular structure that permits tasting and facilitates the process of mastication and communication. The blood supply of the tongue originates from the external carotid artery, and the innervation is through cranial nerves. Lips and Tongue: Anatomy: scarlet fever Scarlet fever Infection with group a Streptococci that is characterized by tonsillitis and pharyngitis. An erythematous rash is commonly present. Scarlet Fever, Kawasaki disease Kawasaki disease An acute, febrile, mucocutaneous condition accompanied by swelling of cervical lymph nodes in infants and young children. The principal symptoms are fever, congestion of the ocular conjunctivae, reddening of the lips and oral cavity, protuberance of tongue papillae, and edema or erythema of the extremities. Kawasaki Disease
  • Angular cheilitis Cheilitis Inflammation of the lips. It is of various etiologies and degrees of pathology. Oral Cancer: iron Iron A metallic element with atomic symbol fe, atomic number 26, and atomic weight 55. 85. It is an essential constituent of hemoglobins; cytochromes; and iron-binding proteins. It plays a role in cellular redox reactions and in the transport of oxygen. Trace Elements deficiency anemia Anemia Anemia is a condition in which individuals have low Hb levels, which can arise from various causes. Anemia is accompanied by a reduced number of RBCs and may manifest with fatigue, shortness of breath, pallor, and weakness. Subtypes are classified by the size of RBCs, chronicity, and etiology. Anemia: Overview and Types

Clinical Relevance

  • Seborrheic dermatitis Dermatitis Any inflammation of the skin. Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema): a common, chronic, relapsing skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions disorder presenting as erythematous plaques with greasy, yellow scales Scales Dry or greasy masses of keratin that represent thickened stratum corneum. Secondary Skin Lesions in susceptible areas (e.g., scalp, face, trunk). Management includes antifungal Antifungal Azoles agents, steroids Steroids A group of polycyclic compounds closely related biochemically to terpenes. They include cholesterol, numerous hormones, precursors of certain vitamins, bile acids, alcohols (sterols), and certain natural drugs and poisons. Steroids have a common nucleus, a fused, reduced 17-carbon atom ring system, cyclopentanoperhydrophenanthrene. Most steroids also have two methyl groups and an aliphatic side-chain attached to the nucleus. Benign Liver Tumors, calcineurin Calcineurin A calcium and calmodulin-dependent serine/threonine protein phosphatase that is composed of the calcineurin a catalytic subunit and the calcineurin B regulatory subunit. Calcineurin has been shown to dephosphorylate a number of phosphoproteins including histones; myosin light chain; and the regulatory subunits of camp-dependent protein kinases. It is involved in the regulation of signal transduction and is the target of an important class of immunophilin-immunosuppressive drug complexes. Vitiligo inhibitors, and keratolytic agents. 
  • Sinusitis Sinusitis Sinusitis refers to inflammation of the mucosal lining of the paranasal sinuses. The condition usually occurs concurrently with inflammation of the nasal mucosa (rhinitis), a condition known as rhinosinusitis. Acute sinusitis is due to an upper respiratory infection caused by a viral, bacterial, or fungal agent. Sinusitis: an acute inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation of the mucosa of the paranasal sinuses Paranasal Sinuses The 4 pair of paranasal sinuses include the maxillary, ethmoid, sphenoid, and frontal sinuses. The sinuses are a group of air-filled cavities located within the facial and cranial skeleton; all are connected to the main nasal cavity and nasopharynx. Paranasal Sinuses: Anatomy or nasal passages with a duration < 4 weeks. The inflammatory condition can be caused by viral infections Infections Invasion of the host organism by microorganisms or their toxins or by parasites that can cause pathological conditions or diseases. Chronic Granulomatous Disease, bacteria Bacteria Bacteria are prokaryotic single-celled microorganisms that are metabolically active and divide by binary fission. Some of these organisms play a significant role in the pathogenesis of diseases. Bacteriology, or fungi Fungi A kingdom of eukaryotic, heterotrophic organisms that live parasitically as saprobes, including mushrooms; yeasts; smuts, molds, etc. They reproduce either sexually or asexually, and have life cycles that range from simple to complex. Filamentous fungi, commonly known as molds, refer to those that grow as multicellular colonies. Mycology. Noninfectious etiologies of acute sinusitis Sinusitis Sinusitis refers to inflammation of the mucosal lining of the paranasal sinuses. The condition usually occurs concurrently with inflammation of the nasal mucosa (rhinitis), a condition known as rhinosinusitis. Acute sinusitis is due to an upper respiratory infection caused by a viral, bacterial, or fungal agent. Sinusitis can be allergens or irritants. Diagnosis is usually clinical. Management is supportive but might require antibiotics.
  • Otitis externa Otitis externa Otitis externa (also known as external otitis or swimmer’s ear) is an infection of the external auditory canal that is most often caused by acute bacterial infection and is frequently associated with hot, humid weather and water exposure. Patients commonly present with ear pain, pruritus, discharge, and hearing loss. Otitis Externa: an infection of the external auditory canal External Auditory Canal Otitis Externa most often caused by an acute bacterial infection. Otitis externa Otitis externa Otitis externa (also known as external otitis or swimmer’s ear) is an infection of the external auditory canal that is most often caused by acute bacterial infection and is frequently associated with hot, humid weather and water exposure. Patients commonly present with ear pain, pruritus, discharge, and hearing loss. Otitis Externa is frequently associated with hot, humid weather and water exposure. Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship commonly present with ear pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, pruritus Pruritus An intense itching sensation that produces the urge to rub or scratch the skin to obtain relief. Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema), discharge, and hearing loss Hearing loss Hearing loss, also known as hearing impairment, is any degree of impairment in the ability to apprehend sound as determined by audiometry to be below normal hearing thresholds. Clinical presentation may occur at birth or as a gradual loss of hearing with age, including a short-term or sudden loss at any point. Hearing Loss. The diagnosis is clinical. Most types of otitis externa Otitis externa Otitis externa (also known as external otitis or swimmer’s ear) is an infection of the external auditory canal that is most often caused by acute bacterial infection and is frequently associated with hot, humid weather and water exposure. Patients commonly present with ear pain, pruritus, discharge, and hearing loss. Otitis Externa are treated with topical antibiotic therapy. 
  • Otitis media: an infection in the middle ear Middle ear The space and structures directly internal to the tympanic membrane and external to the inner ear (labyrinth). Its major components include the auditory ossicles and the eustachian tube that connects the cavity of middle ear (tympanic cavity) to the upper part of the throat. Acute Otitis Media characterized by mucosal inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation and fluid retention. The most common pathogens are Streptococcus Streptococcus Streptococcus is one of the two medically important genera of gram-positive cocci, the other being Staphylococcus. Streptococci are identified as different species on blood agar on the basis of their hemolytic pattern and sensitivity to optochin and bacitracin. There are many pathogenic species of streptococci, including S. pyogenes, S. agalactiae, S. pneumoniae, and the viridans streptococci. Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus Haemophilus Haemophilus is a genus of Gram-negative coccobacilli, all of whose strains require at least 1 of 2 factors for growth (factor V [NAD] and factor X [heme]); therefore, it is most often isolated on chocolate agar, which can supply both factors. The pathogenic species are H. influenzae and H. ducreyi. Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis Moraxella catarrhalis Gram-negative aerobic cocci of low virulence that colonize the nasopharynx and occasionally cause meningitis; bacteremia; empyema; pericarditis; and pneumonia. Moraxella. Otitis media can present with fever Fever Fever is defined as a measured body temperature of at least 38°C (100.4°F). Fever is caused by circulating endogenous and/or exogenous pyrogens that increase levels of prostaglandin E2 in the hypothalamus. Fever is commonly associated with chills, rigors, sweating, and flushing of the skin. Fever, otalgia Otalgia Acute Otitis Media, and diminished hearing. Diagnosis is made by history and otoscopic exam, which shows a bulging tympanic membrane Tympanic membrane An oval semitransparent membrane separating the external ear canal from the tympanic cavity. It contains three layers: the skin of the external ear canal; the core of radially and circularly arranged collagen fibers; and the mucosa of the middle ear. Ear: Anatomy with reduced mobility. Management includes observation or antibiotics.
  • Infectious mononucleosis Mononucleosis Infectious mononucleosis (IM), also known as “the kissing disease,” is a highly contagious viral infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. Its common name is derived from its main method of transmission: the spread of infected saliva via kissing. Clinical manifestations of IM include fever, tonsillar pharyngitis, and lymphadenopathy. Mononucleosis: a highly contagious viral infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus Virus Viruses are infectious, obligate intracellular parasites composed of a nucleic acid core surrounded by a protein capsid. Viruses can be either naked (non-enveloped) or enveloped. The classification of viruses is complex and based on many factors, including type and structure of the nucleoid and capsid, the presence of an envelope, the replication cycle, and the host range. Virology. The main method of transmission is the spread of infected saliva Saliva The clear, viscous fluid secreted by the salivary glands and mucous glands of the mouth. It contains mucins, water, organic salts, and ptyalin. Salivary Glands: Anatomy. Clinical manifestations of the condition include fever Fever Fever is defined as a measured body temperature of at least 38°C (100.4°F). Fever is caused by circulating endogenous and/or exogenous pyrogens that increase levels of prostaglandin E2 in the hypothalamus. Fever is commonly associated with chills, rigors, sweating, and flushing of the skin. Fever, tonsillar pharyngitis Pharyngitis Pharyngitis is an inflammation of the back of the throat (pharynx). Pharyngitis is usually caused by an upper respiratory tract infection, which is viral in most cases. It typically results in a sore throat and fever. Other symptoms may include a runny nose, cough, headache, and hoarseness. Pharyngitis, and lymphadenopathy Lymphadenopathy Lymphadenopathy is lymph node enlargement (> 1 cm) and is benign and self-limited in most patients. Etiologies include malignancy, infection, and autoimmune disorders, as well as iatrogenic causes such as the use of certain medications. Generalized lymphadenopathy often indicates underlying systemic disease. Lymphadenopathy. Diagnosis is clinical and confirmed by antibody testing. No specific antiviral Antiviral Antivirals for Hepatitis B therapy is currently available.

References

  1. Bickley, L. (2012). Bates’ Guide to Physical Examination and History-Taking. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  2. Walker, H.K., et al. (1990). Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. Boston: Butterworths. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21250045/
  3. Lewis, M.L. (2014). A comprehensive newborn exam: part I. General, head and neck, cardiopulmonary. Am Fam Physician. 90(5), 289–96. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25251088/

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