Palpation is a diagnostic technique employed in medical practice to examine the body’s internal structures through touch. By applying varying degrees of pressure with their hands, healthcare professionals can gauge the size, location, consistency and tenderness of an organ or anatomical structure. The method is instrumental in detecting abnormalities and evaluating patient discomfort.

Two primary forms exist: superficial palpation, which assesses skin temperature, moisture, and surface characteristics; and deep palpation, which probes underlying organs or tissues. Palpation’s effectiveness depends on the examiner’s sensitivity and experience. For instance, in osteopathy and physical therapy, skilled palpation can identify musculoskeletal dysfunctions.

The technique holds its roots in ancient medicine but remains a cornerstone of modern clinical examinations. Despite advancements such as ultrasound imaging, palpation provides valuable immediate feedback that these technologies cannot replicate. Its non-invasive nature also makes it a safe first-line tool for medical evaluation.

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