Interactive Guide to Physical Examination
Head and Neck

Examination of the Head and Neck

Module objectives:

After completion of this module, the student will be able to describe:

  • Pertinent anatomy of the head and neck.
  • Techniques used to examine the head, eyes, ears, nose, throat and neck.
  • Normal physical findings in the region.

Module navigation:

Ideally, the student should progress through the module in a stepwise fashion, using the menu options in the tool bar. Web text covers pertinent aspects of anatomy, physiology, range of normal and selected abnormalities. The majority of information regarding techniques of examination is covered in the video clips. Other interactive components cover clinical pearls as well as normal and abnormal findings. Since this module is composed of many individual portions, each section can stand-alone. For more information about a linked word or subject, simply click on the link.

Equipment needed to perform the examination:

  • Snellen vision chart.
  • Pen light or other light source.
  • Ophthalmoscope.
  • Otoscope.
  • 512 Hz tuning fork.
  • Tongue blade.
  • Gauze.
  • Gloves.
  • A glass of water.

General approach to the head and neck examination:

As with all portions of the physical examination, thorough evaluation of the head and neck are crucial. The examiner must adopt a systematic approach to ensure no portions of the examination are overlooked. This module will present one approach to the examination.

The patient is best examined without glasses or false teeth in place. It may be necessary to ask the patient to remove makeup if it obscures inspection.