Which rectal exam findings are characteristic of peritonitis and abdominal sepsis?

Updated: Jul 23, 2019
  • Author: Brian J Daley, MD, MBA, FACS, FCCP, CNSC; Chief Editor: Praveen K Roy, MD, AGAF  more...
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Rectal examination often elicits increased abdominal pain, particularly with inflammation of the pelvic organs, but rarely indicates a specific diagnosis. A tender inflammatory mass toward the right may indicate appendicitis, and anterior fullness and fluctuation may indicate a cul de sac abscess.

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