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ballottement

Pronunciation: bal-ot-mon[h]′

Definition:

  1. Maneuver used in physical examination to estimate the size of an organ not near the surface, particularly when there is ascites, by a flicking motion of the hand or fingers similar to that involved in dribbling a basketball.
  2. An obsolete method of diagnosing pregnancy: with the tip of the forefinger in the vagina, a sharp tap is made against the lower segment of the uterus; the fetus, if present, is tossed upward and (if the finger is retained in place) will be felt to strike against the wall of the uterus as it falls back.

[Fr. balloter, to toss up]

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© Copyright 2017 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.
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