knee-chest position

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Related to knee-chest position: lithotomy position, Trendelenburg position, dorsal recumbent position, Sims position


1. a bodily posture or attitude.
2. the relationship of a given point on the presenting part of the fetus to a designated point of the maternal pelvis; see accompanying table. See also presentation.
Common examination positions. From Lammon et al., 1995.
anatomical position that of the human body standing erect, palms facing forward; it is the position of reference in designating site or direction of structures of the body. The anatomical position for quadrupeds is standing with all four feet on the ground; the difference between animal and human anatomical position leads to confusion among terms indicating position and direction.
The body in the anatomical poisition, showing regions of the body. From Applegate, 2000.
batrachian position a lying position of infants in which the lower limbs are flexed, abducted, and resting on the bed on their outer aspects, resembling the legs of a frog.
Bozeman's position the knee-elbow position with straps used for support.
decubitus position that of the body lying on a horizontal surface, designated according to the aspect of the body touching the surface as dorsal decubitus (on the back), left or right lateral decubitus (on the left or right side), and ventral decubitus (on the anterior surface). In radiology, the patient is placed in either the right or left lateral decubitus position with the beam perpendicular to the long axis of the body.
dorsal recumbent position position of patient on the back, with lower limbs flexed and rotated outward; used in vaginal examination, application of obstetrical forceps, and other procedures. See illustration.
Fowler's position a position in which the head of the patient's bed is raised 30 to 90 degrees above the level, with the knees sometimes also elevated. See illustration.
Low Fowler's.
froglike position batrachian position.
knee-chest position the patient rests on the knees and chest with head is turned to one side, arms extended on the bed, and elbows flexed and resting so that they partially bear the patient's weight; the abdomen remains unsupported, though a small pillow may be placed under the chest. See illustration.
knee-elbow position the patient resting on the knees and elbows with the chest elevated.
lateral position Sims' position.
lithotomy position the patient lies on the back with the legs well separated, thighs acutely flexed on the abdomen, and legs on thighs; stirrups may be used to support the feet and legs. See illustration.
orthopneic position a position assumed to relieve orthopnea (difficulty breathing except when in an upright position); the patient assumes an upright or semivertical position by using pillows to support the head and chest, or sits upright in a chair.
prone position a position with the patient lying face down with arms bent comfortably at the elbow and padded with the armboards positioned forward.
Prone position. From Lammon et al., 1995.
reverse Trendelenburg position a supine position with the patient on a plane inclined with the head higher than the rest of the body and appropriate safety devices such as a footboard.
Rose's position one intended to prevent aspiration or swallowing of blood, as from an injured lip: the patient is supine with head hanging over the end of the table in full extension so as to enable bleeding to be over the margins of the inverted upper incisors.
semi-Fowler position a position similar to Fowler's position but with the head less elevated.
Sims position the patient lies on the left side with the left thigh slightly flexed and the right thigh acutely flexed on the abdomen; the left arm is behind the body with the body inclined forward, and the right arm is positioned according to the patient's comfort. See illustration. Called also lateral position.
Sims recumbent position a variant of the Sims position in which the patient lies on the left side in a modified left lateral position; the upper leg is flexed at hip and knees, the lower leg is straight, and the upper arm rests in a flexed position on the bed.
Trendelenburg's position the patient is on the back on a table or bed whose upper section is inclined 45 degrees so that the head is lower than the rest of the body; the adjustable lower section of the table or bed is bent so that the patient's legs and knees are flexed. There is support to keep the patient from slipping. See illustration.

knee-·chest po·si·tion

a prone posture resting on the knees and upper part of the chest, assumed for gynecologic or rectal examination.

knee-chest position

knee-chest po·si·tion

(nē-chest pŏ-zish'ŏn)
A prone posture resting on the knees and upper part of the chest, assumed for gynecologic or rectal examination.
Synonym(s): genupectoral position.


(po-zish'on ) [L. positio, a placing]
1. The place or arrangement in which something is put.
2. The manner in which a body is arranged, as by the nurse or physician for examination.
3. In obstetrics, the relationship of a selected fetal landmark to the maternal front or back, and on the right or left side. See: table; presentation for illus.

abdominal position

Horizontal abdominal position.

anatomical position

The position assumed when a person is standing erect with arms at the sides, palms forward. Synonym: orthograde position

anteroposterior position

A radiographical examination position in which the central ray enters the front of the body and exits from the back.

antideformity position

Any of several postures that reduce edema and the shortening of ligaments and tendons caused by abnormal muscle tone, e.g., in patients with injuries or burns.

axial position

A radiographical examination position in which an image is obtained with the central ray entering the body at an angle.

Bonnet position

In inflammation of the hip joint, the flexion, abduction, and outward rotation of the thigh, which produces relief.

Brickner position

A method of obtaining traction, abduction, and external rotation of the shoulder by securing the patient's wrist to the head of the bed.

butterfly position

Frog-leg position.

centric position

The most posterior position of the mandible in relation to the maxilla.

closed-packed position

, close-packed position
Of a joint, the position in which there is maximum congruency of the articular surfaces and joint stability is derived from the alignment of bones. This is the opposite of the maximum loose-packed position.

decubitus position

The position of the patient on a flat surface. The exact position is indicated by which surface of the body is closest to the flat surface: in left or right lateral decubitus, the patient is flat on the left or right side, respectively; in dorsal or ventral decubitus, the patient is on the back or abdomen, respectively.

dorsal elevated position

A position in which the patient lies on the back with the head and shoulders elevated at an angle of 30° or more. It is employed in digital examination of genitalia and in bimanual examination of the vagina.
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dorsal recumbent position

A position in which the patient lies on the back with the lower extremities moderately flexed and rotated outward. It is employed in the application of obstetrical forceps, repair of lesions following parturition, vaginal examination, and bimanual palpation.
See: illustration

dorsosacral position

Lithotomy position. See: dorsal recumbent position for illus.

Edebohls position

Simon position.

Elliot position

See: Elliot position

en face position

In obstetrics, a position in which the mother and infant are face to face. This position encourages eye contact and is conducive to attachment.

English position

Left lateral recumbent position.

fetal position

The relationship of a specified bony landmark on the fetal presenting part to the quadrants of the maternal pelvis.

Fowler position

See: Fowler position

frog-leg position

A body position used in physical examination to evaluate the genitals and perineum in which the patient lies on the back or sits on the buttocks, bends the knees, abducts the thighs, and draws the heels toward the pelvis. Synonym: butterfly position.

functional position of hand

In making splints for the hand, the position in which the wrist is dorsiflexed 20 to 35°, a normal transverse arch is maintained, and the thumb is in abduction and opposition and aligned with the pads of the four fingers. Proximal interphalangeal joints are flexed 45 to 60°.

genucubital position

A position with the patient on the knees, thighs upright, body resting on elbows, head down on hands. It is used when it is not possible to use the classic knee-chest position.
Synonym: knee-elbow position

genupectoral position

A position with the patient on the knees, thighs upright, the head and upper part of the chest resting on the table, arms crossed above the head. It is employed in displacement of a prolapsed fundus, dislodgment of the impacted head of a fetus, management of transverse presentation, replacement of a retroverted uterus or displaced ovary, or flushing of the intestinal canal.
Synonym: knee-chest position See: dorsal recumbent position for illus.

gravity-dependent position

Placement of a limb so that its distal end is lower than the level of the heart. Gravity affects the fluids within the limb, drawing or retaining them to the distal aspect. When limbs, esp. injured limbs, are placed below the level of the heart, interstitial pressure is increased, encouraging the formation and retention of edema within the extremity.

head-down position

Trendelenburg position.

heat escape lessening position

Abbreviation: HELP
A body posture that decreases the rate of heat loss when a person is immersed in water. It is an important component of aquatic safety. HELP protects the head, neck, chest, and groin from rapid heat loss and delays the onset of hypothermia. The position is assumed by floating on the back with the head and neck above the water line, the arms crossed on the chest, and the legs crossed with the knees drawn up toward the perineum. The body is sustained in a stable floating position in the water by a personal flotation device.

horizontal position

A position in which the patient lies supine with feet extended. It is used in palpation, in auscultation of fetal heart, and in operative procedures.

horizontal abdominal position

1. A position in which the patient lies flat on the abdomen with the feet extended. It is used in examination of the back and spinal column.
2. Face down.
Synonym: abdominal position

intercuspal position

Centric occlusion.

jackknife position

A position in which the patient lies on the back, shoulders elevated, legs flexed on thighs, thighs at right angles to the abdomen. It is used when introducing a urethral sound.
Synonym: reclining position

knee-chest position

Genupectoral position.

knee-elbow position

Genucubital position.

lateral position

In radiology, a side-lying position, which allows the central ray to enter the upright side.

laterosemiprone position

See: Sims position

lawn-chair position

A colloquial term for a dorsal recumbent position with the hips and knees flexed slightly (approx. 5°–10°).

left lateral recumbent position

A position with the patient on the left side, right knee and thigh drawn up; employed in vaginal examination. Synonym: English position; obstetrical position

lithotomy position

A surgical position used in gynecologic, rectal, and urologic procedures in which the patient lies on her back, thighs flexed on the abdomen, legs on thighs, thighs abducted. It is used in genital tract operations, vaginal hysterectomy, and the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the urethra and bladder.
Synonym: dorsosacral position See: dorsal recumbent position for illus.

loose-packed position

The position of a joint where it is unlocked and free to move.
Synonym: open-packed position See: closed-packed position

maximum loose-packed position

Of a joint, the position where maximum joint play occurs, where ligaments and capsule have the least amount of tension.
Synonym: resting position

Noble position

See: Noble position

oblique position

In radiology, an alignment of the body between a lateral and an anteroposterior or posteroanterior position. The angle formed by the body surface and the image receptor may vary. The central ray enters the aspect of the body that is upright and facing away from the image receptor.

obstetrical position

Left lateral recumbent position.

open-packed position

Loose-packed position.

orthograde position

Anatomical position.

orthopneic position

The upright or nearly upright position of the upper trunk of a patient in a bed or chair. It facilitates breathing in those with congestive heart failure and some forms of pulmonary disease.

physiological rest position

In dentistry, the position of the mandible at rest when the patient is sitting upright and the condyles are in an unstrained position. The jaw muscles are relaxed. Synonym: rest position

posterior-anterior position

Abbreviation: PA position
In radiology, a position in which the central ray enters the posterior surface of the body and exits the anterior surface.

prone position

A position in which the patient is lying face downward.
See: dorsal recumbent position for illus.

prone-on-elbows position

Abbreviation: POE
A position in which the body is lying face down with the upper trunk and head elevated, propped up by the arms, while the lower body is in contact with the supporting surface. The weight of the upper body rests on the elbows and forearms.

Patient care

This position, a component of the developmental sequence, is used in physical therapy to improve weight bearing and stability through the shoulder girdle. Elbow joint stability is not required, because the joint is not involved.

reclining position

Jackknife position.

recovery position

A position in which the patient is placed on the left side with the left arm moved aside and supported to allow for lung expansion and the right leg crossed over the left. This position affords the unconscious, breathing patient the best protection from airway occlusion or aspiration of fluids into the lungs.

rest position

Physiological rest position.

resting position

Maximum loose-packed position.

resting position of hand

In making splints for the hand, the position in which the forearm is midway between pronation and supination, the wrist is at 12 to 20° dorsiflexion, and the phalanges are slightly flexed. The thumb is in partial opposition and forward.

semi-Fowler position

A position in which the patient lies on the back with the trunk elevated at approx. 30°.
See: Fowler's position

semiprone position

Sims' position.

Sims position

See: Sims position.

subtalar neutral position of the foot

The middle range of the subtalar joint with no pronation or supination measured. It is usually one third of the way from the fully everted position.

tangential position

In radiology, a position in which the central ray separates the images of anatomical parts by skimming between them.

Trendelenburg position

See: Trendelenburg, Friedrich

tripod position

A position that may be assumed during respiratory distress to facilitate the use of respiratory accessory muscles. The patient sits leaning forward, with hands placed on the bed or a table with arms braced.

unilateral recumbent position

The position in which the patient lies on the right side is used in acute pleurisy, lobar pneumonia of the right side, and in a greatly enlarged liver; the position in which the patient lies on left side is used in lobar pneumonia, pleurisy on the left side, and in large pericardial effusions.
See: dorsal recumbent position for illus.

Walcher position

See: Walcher position
Vertex Presentation (point of designation—occiput)
Left occiput anteriorLOA
Right occiput posteriorROP
Right occiput anteriorROA
Left occiput posteriorLOP
Right occiput transverseROT
Occiput anteriorOA
Occiput posteriorOP
Breech Presentation (point of designation—sacrum)
Left sacroanteriorLSA
Right sacroposteriorRSP
Right sacroanteriorRSA
Left sacroposteriorLSP
Left sacrotransverseLST
Right sacrotransverseRST
Face Presentation (point of designation—mentum)
Left mentoanteriorLMA
Right mentoposteriorRMP
Right mentoanteriorRMA
Left mentoposteriorLMP
Left mentotransverseLMT
Right mentotransverseRMT
Transverse Presentation (point of designation—scapula of presenting shoulder)
Left acromiodorso-anteriorLADA
Right acromiodorso-posteriorRADP
Right acromiodorso-anteriorRADA
Left acromiodorso-posteriorLADP
References in periodicals archive ?
If the mother cannot tolerate the knee-chest position for as long as necessary to turn the baby, we alternate by placing her in an exaggerated Simm's position (lying on left side, two pillows under right knee, which is jack-knifed, left leg straight out and toward the back.
If labor is more advanced when the posterior is identified, say 4-5 centimeters, it may be helpful while the mother is in the knee-chest position for the attendant to place her hand in the mother's vagina and gently lift the head, somewhat disengaging the head and allowing it to turn face down.
Transvaginal hydrolaparoscopy is a form of culdoscopy performed via a transvaginal puncture with the patient in the dorsal lithotomy position instead of the knee-chest position.