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Chapter 31 position and draping for physical exam.


Patient lies flat, face upward, legs supported by foot rest.

Supine uses for examination

Frontal portion of the body - heart, breast, abdominal organs.

Dorsal Recumbent

Patient lies on back, face upward, flexing knees, feet flat on table.

Dorsal Recumbent uses for examination

Rectal, vaginal, perneal,


On back, knees sharply flexed, buttocks to edge of table, feet supported in stirrups

Lithotomy uses for examination

primarily for vaginal examination.


Patient sits, table brought to 90 degrees, sit on edge of table.

Fowler uses for examination

Head, neck, chest, and for patients who have difficulty breathing.


Patient sitting in a 45 degree angel.

Semi-Fowler uses for examination

post surgical exams, patient with breathing disorders, elevated temp, suffering head trauma or pain.


Lie face down

Prone uses for examination

back and some surgical procedures.


Placed on left side, right arm flexed upward for support, right leg sharply flexed, left leg slightly flexed, buttocks toward edge of table.

Sims uses for examination

rectal exam, rectal temp reading, insertion of rectal medication, perinal and pelvic exams.

Knee Chest

Rest knees on chest on the table, head to the side, buttocks extended up in the air. Never leave patient.

Knee chest uses for examination

Sigmoid, rectal, vaginal exams.


Lying on back face upward, table raise 30 degrees at legs.

Trendelenburg uses for examination

Shock, low blood pressure, abdominal surgery.

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