Skin assessment

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Assessment of the skin is an important element of the newborn physical examination. A complete examination of the skin involves both inspection and palpation. Most skin variations can be noted by inspection alone, but palpation is essential to avoid missing less obvious problems and is an important aspect of the examination. Palpation is important for determining the thickness, turgor, and consistency of the skin. It is also necessary to determine the size or configuration of certain lesions or variations that may be observed during the examination. The more immature the skin, the thinner and more permeable it is. Careful assessment of the skin gives the examiner insight into the overall health of the newborn as well as any underlying pathology. Although numerous other anomalies may occur in newborn skin, the most common variations presented here should aid the healthcare professional in performing a complete and thorough newborn skin examination.

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