What is included in the physical exam to evaluate Tourette syndrome (TS) and other tic disorders?

Updated: May 30, 2019
  • Author: William C Robertson, Jr, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen L Nelson, Jr, MD, PhD, FAACPDM, FAAN, FAAP  more...
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An important caveat is that many patients with tics may not demonstrate them on their first office visit, especially when the examiner is looking directly at the patient. In such cases, important aids to diagnosis can include obtaining the patient's history from several sources; scheduling follow-up office visits; and, most importantly, assigning the patient (or his or her parents) to bring a home video to show their behavior. Learning to watch the patient out of the corner of one's eye while speaking with a family member or writing in the chart is also helpful.

The remainder of the physical examination is important primarily for differential diagnosis. Special attention should be paid to the patient's mental status, cornea (Kayser-Fleischer rings), eye movements, abnormal movements, muscle tone, gait, postural stability, and bradykinesia or tremor if any. General neurological and psychiatric examinations are also important.

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