Physical Examination

Although this is not a complete list, this gives you an idea of what the examination includes and why.

Head, Eyes, Ears, Nose, and Throat
This examination includes looking at the backs of your eyes with an ophthalmoscope, looking in your ears to ensure that the drums are intact, and checking the back of your throat for infections or other abnormalities.

We are examining your neck for how easily it moves, if there are any swollen lymph glands, and if you have any enlargement or masses on your thyroid gland (in the front of your neck.)

This exam includes looking at your chest to ensure that your lungs expand symmetrically, and listening to your lungs with a stethoscope for any abnormal sounds. You will be asked to take deep breaths, as the clinician moves the stethoscope from side to side, on the front and back of your chest.

This examination includes feeling your heart as it beats against the wall of your chest (this partially a test to see if your heart is enlarged.) Then your healthcare provider will listen to your heart with a stethoscope. The exam is conducted you with multiple sides of the stethoscope to hear different heart sounds more clearly, and we will likely examine your heart in multiple positions, such as sitting, lying down, standing, or lying on your left side. This is a way to hear your heart better, and to check for specific abnormalities.

Blood Vessels
This examination includes the pulses in your wrists, neck, and the pulses in the groin. This is to ensure that your heart is pumping blood equally to all parts of your body. 

Examining the stomach includes listening with a stethoscope for abnormal sounds (such as from your stomach or blood vessels), feeling your stomach for any tenderness or masses, and examining your liver and spleen for any enlargement.



Lymph Glands
In addition to the lymph glands in your neck, this exam includes the lymph glands near your collarbone, under your arms, and in your groin. Swelling of lymph glands is often a sign of infection, and—in rare cases—a sign of cancer.

Breast cancer is rare in men, but should not be ignored. Moreover, breast problems can signify problems with your liver or reproductive system. This quick exam includes feeling for masses, tenderness, and checking for discharge.

Nervous System
The neurological examination is usually pretty quick because we are examining your nerves as we examine other parts of your body. This examination will usually check the reflexes in your knees, and sometimes in your elbows and wrists. This is to check for problems in your spinal cord, or certain neurological and thyroid problems that show up with abnormal reflexes.

Especially during sports examinations, this examination will check to see if your spine is straight, if the muscles in your upper and lower body are symmetric and strong, and you may be asked to move your shoulders, legs, or to squat down to evaluate muscle strength.

Testicles and Hernias Examination
All of us recognize hat this can be uncomfortable or embarrassing, but this is a quick and painless examination. Testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer in young men, and the rate of new cases in the USA has doubled in the past 40 years.

You will be asked to pull down your underwear and/or move your examination gown to examine your penis, testicles, and groin. and it is also important to check for abnormalities of the urethra and foreskin (if present).

Hernias can affect your ability to lift heavy objects, among other problems. Your healthcare provider will place a finger in the area just above each testicle and ask you to cough or squeeze down the muscles in your stomach to see if a hernia is present.  (You are asked to turn your head to the side so that you do not cough in the examiner’s face).

Prostate examinations are recommended only for certain men based on their age, symptoms, and medical history. Most men do not need to undergo this examination.

Part of the entire examination is to examine your skin for abnormal skin coloring, unusual moles, or any other signs of concern. We are always on the lookout for signs of skin cancer as well as other disease that might present with skin abnormalities.