Medical Definition of Guarding, abdominal

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Guarding, abdominal: Tensing of the abdominal wall muscles to guard inflamed organs within the abdomen from the pain of pressure upon them. Abdominal guarding is detected when the abdomen is pressed and is an indication that inflammation of the inner abdominal (peritoneal) surface may be present due, for example, to appendicitis or diverticulitis. The tensed muscles of the abdominal wall automatically go into spasm to keep the tender underlying tissues from being irritated.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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