Evidence-Based Physical Examination

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This chapter helps the reader to review the anatomy and describe the life-span variances of the skin, hair, and nails and to develop a systematic approach to performing a comprehensive history and physical examination of the integumentary system. It discusses the key history and physical exam findings of common skin disorders. Understanding the structure and the function of the skin complements evidence-based physical assessment of the integumentary system. A competent clinician must have fundamental knowledge of the functions, topography, and major components of the skin. Taking a comprehensive history is one of the most important tools in determining an accurate diagnosis. The patient’s current health status, past medical history, family history, and personal and psychosocial history as well as the patient’s home, occupational, and travel history may all affect the condition of his or her skin, hair, and nails. The clinician must also consider the patient’s age, gender, race, culture, and environment.


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