Surgery Book

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Carnett's Sign

Aka: Carnett's Sign, Carnett Sign
  1. Indication
    1. Acute Abdominal Pain Evaluation
    2. Chronic Abdominal Pain Evaluation
    3. Chronic Pelvic Pain evaluation
  2. Technique
    1. Patient lies supine
    2. Patient tenses abdominal wall
      1. Lifts head off table
      2. Lifts Shoulders off table
      3. May also lift both legs off table simultaneously
  3. Interpretation
    1. Intra-Abdominal Pain source (Negative Carnett's Sign)
      1. Abdominal Pain decreases with tensing Abdomen or when examiner palpates Abdomen
      2. Suggests deeper, visceral pain
    2. Abdominal Muscle Wall Pain (Positive Carnett's Sign)
      1. Pain increases or remains unchanged with tensing Abdomen or when examiner palpates Abdomen
      2. Suggests myofascial pain source (Trigger Point, nerve entrapment, Hernia, Myositis)
  4. References
    1. Thomson (1977) Lancet 2(8047):1053-4 [PubMed]

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