-al; -ial, -eal
(Latin: suffix; pertaining to, like, of the kind of, relating to, characterized by, belonging to; action of, process of)
2. The physical evaluation of a patient's midsection with visual inspection, auscultation, percussion, and palpation: An abdominal examination includes the visual examination of the normally oval shape of the abdominal surface while the patient is lying on his or her back which may reveal abnormal surface features indicating the effects of a disease, surgery, or injury.
Below the surface, tumors, fluid accumulation, or hypertrophy of the liver or spleen may be seen as an abnormal surface feature.
Auscultation, or listening to sounds within the body, usually with a stethoscope, may reveal vascular sounds that provide information about arterial disorders, such as aortic aneurysms of the aorta and bowel sounds that indicate intestinal function.
In a pregnant patient, auscultation can detect fetal heartbeat and blood circulation in the placenta.
Percussion, the tapping of a part of the body for diagnostic purposes, helps to determination the condition of internal organs while palpation, or feeling the size, shape, or firmness of body parts, is used to detect areas of tenderness or rigidity, muscle tone and skin condition, and the shapes and sizes of organs or masses under the surface of the skin.
2. An abnormal passage or tract leading from an abdominal organ to the external surface of the abdomen: In a colostomy, an abdominal fistula extending from the bowel to an opening on the surface of the abdomen is surgically created.
A colostomy is a medical operation in which part of the colon is removed and a hole is made in the stomach through which solid waste can leave the body.
2. The measurement of the distance around the abdomen at a specific point, usually at the level of the belly button or navel: Measuring abdominal girth is used to diagnose and to monitor:
- Obesity, or the build up of fluid in the abdomen, often caused by liver failure or heart failure.
- Buildup of intestinal gas, usually caused by the blockage or an obstruction in the intestines.
There are various hernias, as an "inguinal hernia", "umbilical hernia", or "spigelian hernia", in which an anatomical part, such as a section of the intestine, protrudes through an opening, tear, or weakness in the abdominal wall musculature which is a system or an arrangement of muscles in a body or a body part.
As opposed to an abdominal hysterectomy, a vaginal hysterectomy refers to the removal of the uterus through a surgical incision within the vagina. With a vaginal hysterectomy, the scar from the procedure is not outwardly visible.
2. The group of four muscles which make up the abdominal wall consists of:
- The external oblique (the most superficial of the four, a muscle from the fifth to twelfth ribs) whose fibers are directed downward and medially from the lower ribs to the linea alba (a fibrous band) and pelvis.
- The internal oblique (a slanting, small, thin, deep muscle of the abdomen), whose fibers are directed upward and medially from the iliac crest (hip bone) and lumbodorsal fascia (loose tissue) to the lower ribs.
- The rectus abdominis, a vertically oriented muscle from the crest of the pubis (pelvis) to the cartilages of the fifth, sixth, and seventh ribs and xiphoid process.
- The transversus abdominis, whose fibers are oriented transversely (sideways or at an angle across something).
These muscles participate in a variety of functions, including flexion, side bending and rotation of the trunk, stabilization of the trunk in the upright posture, the expiratory phase of respiration, coughing, and Valsalva's maneuver.
The term "Valsalva's maneuver" is a maneuver in which the patient holds his or her breath or gives a voluntary cough or sneeze to produce pain.
These activities of holding the breath, coughing, or sneezing increase the pressure of the cerebrospinal fluid which enlarges the pressure against the already pressured nerve, causing pain and numbness. The location of this intensified pain also contributes to the medical diagnosis.
2. Agony in the visceral cavity: Abdominal pain can be acute or chronic. It may reflect a major problem with one of the organs in the abdomen, such as appendicitis or a perforated intestine, or it may result from a fairly minor problem, such as an excess buildup of intestinal gas.
2. A puncture of the wall of a fluid-filled cavity with a hollow needle to draw off the contents for medical diagnosis: A trocar is used during an abdominal paracentesis to obtain some ascitic fluid for examination from a patient while he or she is in a sitting position.