The physical examination of the abdomen is a fundamental part of the standard physical exam. It understandably relies on the previous comprehension of the anatomy and physiology of the gastrointestinal, reproductive, and endocrine systems. Mainly, this exam consists of the assessment of the abdominal viscera through inspection, auscultation, palpation, and percussion.
The assessment focuses on the integrity and proper functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, hepatobiliary system, abdominal wall, and reproductive tract. The key is to identify and distinguish normal functioning from abnormal conditions, including cirrhosis, cholelithiasis, inflammatory bowel disease, peptic ulcers, ovarian torsion, pancreatitis, among many others.