Rovsing sign

Last revised by Dr Jeremy Jones on 14 Jul 2021

Rovsing sign is commonly used to describe pain elicited in the right iliac fossa on deep palpation of the left iliac fossa. 

It is used in clinical examination to detect peritoneal irritation in the right iliac fossa, most frequently associated with appendicitis. Most teaching describes the sign as elicited by deep palpation or percussion in the left iliac fossa, though the sign as described by Rovsing described sliding the hand cranially from the left iliac fossa to push descending colon contents back towards the cecum, distending it and causing pain 1.

History and etymology

Niels Thorkild Rovsing (1862 - 1927), a Danish surgeon, first described the sign in 1907.

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