Percussion : Diagnosis-Benefits

  What Is Percussion?

Physical And Visual Examination

It is the examination with the aid of tapping the fingers on the body to decide the condition of the internal organs by means of the sounds which are produced. Percussion is the act of putting one item towards some other to produce sound. The sound waves produced through the putting movement over body tissues are known as percussion tones or percussion notes. Percussion provides statistics about the nature of an underlying structure. It is used to define the scale of an organ including bladder or liver. Percussion is also used to decide if a structure is air crammed, fluid stuffed or stable.

The diploma to which sound propagates is called resonance. Percussion produces five characteristic tones: tympanic, hyper-resonant, resonant, stupid and flat. Percussion of the stomach is tympanic, hyper-inflated lung tissue is hyper-resonant, normal lung tissue is resonant, the liver is dull and the bone flat. There are  varieties of percussion, direct and indirect. Direct percussion is achieved via tapping an area at once with the fingertip of the middle finger or thumb. Indirect percussion includes  hands. The hands are positioned at the area to be in line with cussed and the finger creating vibrations that lets in discrimination among five distinct tones.

Percussion is a technique of tapping frame components with hands, fingers, or small contraptions as a part of a bodily examination. It is completed to decide:

  • The length, consistency, and borders of body organs

  • The presence or absence of fluid in body regions

Percussion of a frame part produces a sound, like gambling a drum. The sound is a sign of the form of tissue in the frame component or organ.

  • Lungs sound hollow on percussion due to the fact they're packed with air.

  • Bones, joints, and solid organs consisting of the liver sound strong.

  • The stomach feels like a hollow organ filled with air, fluid, or solids.


Percussion is a medical diagnostic technique used by healthcare professionals to assess the health of various body organs and systems. It involves tapping or striking specific areas of the body with the fingers or a percussion hammer to produce sounds or vibrations. These sounds and vibrations can provide valuable information about the underlying structures and conditions. Here are some key aspects of percussion, including its diagnosis and benefits:

1. Diagnosis:

  • Respiratory System: Percussion is commonly used to assess the condition of the lungs and respiratory system. By tapping the chest wall, healthcare providers can listen to the sounds produced, which can help in diagnosing conditions such as pneumonia, pleural effusion, or pneumothorax.

  • Abdominal Examination: In abdominal examinations, percussion can help identify the borders of organs and detect any abnormalities. It is useful in diagnosing conditions like liver enlargement, fluid accumulation in the abdomen (ascites), or intestinal obstruction.

  • Musculoskeletal System: Percussion can be used to assess the condition of bones and joints. It can help identify fractures or assess the density of bone in conditions like osteoporosis.

  • Bladder Distension: In cases of suspected urinary retention, healthcare providers may use percussion over the lower abdomen to detect a distended bladder.

2. Benefits:

  • Non-invasive: Percussion is a non-invasive diagnostic technique that does not require the use of needles, radiation, or contrast agents. This makes it a safe and simple method for gathering diagnostic information.

  • Quick and Inexpensive: Percussion can be performed relatively quickly and does not require expensive equipment. It can be a cost-effective way to obtain preliminary information about a patient's condition.

  • Complementary to Other Examinations: Percussion is often used in conjunction with other physical examination techniques, such as auscultation (listening to sounds) and palpation (feeling for abnormalities), to provide a more comprehensive assessment of a patient's health.

  • Diagnostic Aid: While percussion alone may not provide a definitive diagnosis, it can help healthcare providers narrow down potential causes of symptoms and guide further diagnostic testing and evaluation.

  • Monitoring Changes: Healthcare providers may use percussion to monitor changes in a patient's condition over time. For example, it can help track the progression or resolution of lung conditions like pneumonia.

It's important to note that while percussion is a valuable diagnostic tool, it is often used in combination with other clinical assessments and medical tests to arrive at a conclusive diagnosis. Additionally, the interpretation of percussion findings requires clinical expertise and experience, as it may not always provide a clear-cut diagnosis on its own.

How do you assess percussion?

  • Percussion assessment is an important part of a physical exam. It helps to assess the size and shape of the organs and detect any abnormalities. In the abdomen, percussion helps to identify the presence or absence of fluid or gas, the size and location of the liver and spleen, and the size and shape of abdominal masses. In addition, percussion can be used to help locate foreign bodies, abscesses, tumors, and other masses.

  • Percussion assessment is an important aspect of physical therapy. It is used to evaluate the quality of a patient's musculoskeletal system, their range of motion, and even to detect any signs of neurological issues. Palpation, or feeling the muscle tissue, is one way to assess percussion. The other main way is to use a percussion hammer, which can provide more accurate results.

  • Percussion is a diagnostic tool used to assess the condition of a patient’s lungs. It involves tapping the chest with the fingertips and palms of the hands and listening for changes in vibration and sound. The sound produced by percussion can be classified into three categories: dull, flat, and resonant. Dull percussion indicates a solid mass such as a tumor, while flat percussion suggests air-filled structures such as pneumonia.

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