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Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners

Application Process for Medical Certification - Examination Techniques
Item 38. Abdomen and Viscera

  1. Observation: The Examiner should note any unusual shape or contour, skin color, moisture, temperature, and presence of scars. Hernias, hemorrhoids, and fissure should be noted and recorded.

    A history of acute gastrointestinal disorders is usually not disqualifying once recovery is achieved, e.g., acute appendicitis.

    Many chronic gastrointestinal diseases may preclude issuance of a medical certificate (e.g., cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis, malignancy, ulcerative colitis). Colostomy following surgery for cancer may be allowed by the FAA with special followup reports.

    The Examiner should not issue a medical certificate if the applicant has a recent history of bleeding ulcers or hemorrhagic colitis. Otherwise, ulcers must not have been active within the past 3 months.

    In the case of a history of bowel obstruction, a report on the cause and present status of the condition must be obtained from the treating physician.

  2. Palpation: The Examiner should check for and note enlargement of organs, unexplained masses, tenderness, guarding, and rigidity.

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