Journal of Indian Association of Pediatric Surgeons
Journal of Indian Association of Pediatric Surgeons
                                                   Official journal of the Indian Association of Pediatric Surgeons                           
Year : 2006  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 110-

Adeniran's sign (in early generalized peritonitis in children)

JO Adeniran 
 Paediatric Surgical Unit, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, P. O. Box 5708, Ilorin, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
J O Adeniran
Paediatric Surgical Unit, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, P. O. Box 5708, Ilorin

How to cite this article:
Adeniran J O. Adeniran's sign (in early generalized peritonitis in children).J Indian Assoc Pediatr Surg 2006;11:110-110

How to cite this URL:
Adeniran J O. Adeniran's sign (in early generalized peritonitis in children). J Indian Assoc Pediatr Surg [serial online] 2006 [cited 2022 May 22 ];11:110-110
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Rebound tenderness elicited maximally at the umbilicus, in early peritonitis in children.

The anterior abdominal wall has 3 sheets of muscles which are muscular posterolaterally and aponeurotic anteromedially. These are the external oblique, the internal oblique and the transverses abdominis. The external oblique musle arises from the lower 8 ribs, radiates downwards and forwards, encloses the transverses and is inserted to the linea alba with the other side. The internal oblique arises from the lumbar fascia and the iliac crest, radiates upwards and forwards and is inserted to the linea alba. The fibres of the transversus are horizontally disposed, to attach to the linea alba. This arrangement gives maximum strength to the abdominal wall. The whole abdominal cavity with its lining peritoneum, is therefore separated from the abdominal skin by these strong sheets of muscles and re-enforced near the pubis with the pyramidalis.[1] The situation is, however, different at the umbilicus. Developmentally the umbilical cord connects the baby to the mother, in utero. The muscles are therefore deficient at the umbilicus. After birth, the umbilical area is left only as the umbilical cicatrix or umbilical ring, where only the skin separates the peritoneum from the abdominal skin, without an intervening muscle. Only a fibrous reminant separates the peritoneum from skin.[2] Irritation of the peritoneum is therefore easier to elicit at the umbilicus.

Irritation of the peritoneum in generalized peritonitis produces guarding, rigidity and rebound tenderness.[3],[4] But these signs are elicited through the thick muscles of the anterior abdominal wall. The peritonitis must therefore be grossly established, before these signs can be elicited. Umbilical hernias are common in infants and young children, especially of Afro-Carribean origin.[5] In children whose umbilical ring have previously closed, increased intra-abdominal pressure reopens the ring, causing eversion of the umbilicus.[2] In such children, only the thin skin separates the irritated peritoneum from the palpating finger. Rebound tenderness is thus most easily elicited at the umbilicus, in children with early peritonitis.

If peritonitis is suspected in a child, either the index or middle finger ONLY is used to sharply press and release the everted umbilicus. Rebound tenderness elicited at this umbilicus makes ADENIRAN'S sign positive and confirms peritonitis.


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4Thompson J. The peritoneum, omentum, mesentery and retroperitoneal space. In : Bailey and Love's Short Practice of Surgery, Russell RC, Williams NS, Bulstrode CJK (editors); 23rd ed. Arnold: London; 2000. p. 1008-25.
5Papagrigoriadis S, Browse DJ, Howard ER. Incarceration of umbilical hernias in children: A rare but important complication. Pediatr Surg Int 1998;14:231-2.