Axillary Examination

The axillary examination is performed with the patient seated facing the examiner. Examination of the axilla is best accomplished by relaxing the pectoral muscles. To examine the right axilla, the patient's right forearm is supported by the examiner's right hand. The tips of the fingers of the examiner's left hand start low in the axilla, and, as the patient's right arm is drawn medially, the examiner advances the left hand higher into the axilla. This technique is demonstrated in Figure 16-16. The supraclavicular, subclavian, and axillary regions are palpated.

The technique of using small, circular motions of the fingers riding over the ribs is used for detecting adenopathy. Freely mobile nodes 3 to 5 mm in diameter are common and are usually

Figure 16-15 Position of patient for inspecting the breasts.

Figure 16-16 Technique for axillary examination. A, Low axilla (right side). B, High axilla (left side).

Figure 16-16 Technique for axillary examination. A, Low axilla (right side). B, High axilla (left side).

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