We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is the Obturator Sign?

Dan Harkins
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Physicians use a variety of patient manipulations in the examination room to confirm suspected diagnoses so that a treatment plan can be initiated as quickly as possible. An exam called the obturator sign test is often performed when appendicitis is the culprit — the case for about 7 percent of the population in their lifetimes. This involves the doctor manipulating the right leg inward to slightly compress the pelvic region. Pain during this movement will indicate that a patient might have an inflamed appendix, which is a seemingly useless little nub that is attached to the lower small intestine.

Before a doctor will confirm appendicitis through an x-ray and recommend surgical excision, the obturator sign test helps to isolate the damage. With the patient lying supine, the doctor will flex the patient's right leg by bending the knee. Then the doctor will bring the knee in toward the chest and rotate it inward toward the navel. The patient is then asked to indicate whether the pain intensifies during the obturator sign test.

Other common tests are used in concert with the obturator sign to fully confirm a clinical diagnosis of appendicitis. Some also press lightly into the patient's McBurney's point, which is located three-quarters of the way from the patient's navel to the hip. This is the approximate location of the appendix. Another test, called the Psoas sign test, has the supine patient's right leg straight, with pressure applied to the top of the knee. When the patient attempts to lift the knee, shooting pain will be a further indication of appendicitis.

Acute appendicitis most often rears its head in a pain that radiates from the navel down to where the appendix is attached to the small intestine, near the right pelvic joint. Several other symptoms might be present as well, from fever and nausea to vomiting and a loss of appetite. The major sign, however, is abdominal pain that cannot be ignored, particularly when coughing or moving the right pelvic joint, which is the basic purpose of an obturator sign exam. If left untreated, the appendix could painfully rupture, causing an immediate risk of developing peritonitis, which is an immediately life-threatening internal infection.

The appendix is still a mysterious phenomenon as of 2011. Medical experts still do not quite know why it exists, since removing it does not seem to have any marked effect on the patient. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the condition is the most common reason why a person must have surgical intervention in the abdomen, most often happening to those between the ages of 10 and 30. Appendicitis is typically caused by various bacterial infections.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Dan Harkins
By Dan Harkins
Dan Harkins, a former military professional, brings his diverse life experiences to his writing. After earning his journalism degree, he spent more than two decades honing his craft as a writer and editor for various publications. Dan’s debut novel showcases his storytelling skills and unique perspective by drawing readers into the story’s captivating narrative.
Discussion Comments
Dan Harkins
Dan Harkins
Dan Harkins, a former military professional, brings his diverse life experiences to his writing. After earning his...
Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.