Abdominal reflex

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An abdominal reflex is a superficial neurological reflex stimulated by stroking of the abdomen around the umbilicus. It can be helpful in determining the level of lesion in a neurology case. Being a superficial reflex, it is polysynaptic.[1]

Procedure and components[edit]

Make the subject lie down comfortably on a bed in the supine position. Uncover the abdomen and see that his abdominal muscles are well relaxed. With a blunt object gently stroke on the abdominal skin from lateral to the medial aspect in all four quadrants. Observe the contraction of the abdominal muscles resulting in deviation of umbilicus towards the area stimulated. A normal positive response usually involves a contraction of the abdominal muscles, and the umbilicus moving towards the source of the stimulation. [2]

Roots involved[edit]

Thoracic 7th - 12th segments are involved [3]

Absent abdominal reflex[edit]

Abdominal reflex is noted as either present or absent. An absent response can be physiological. Physiological absent response can be due to obesity, tolerance, children, multiparous lax abdominal wall. Pathological absence can be due to


Evolutionary significance[edit]

The local contraction of the abdominal muscles to an abdominal sensory stimulus was to protect the internal viscera from damage. [5]


  1. ^ "Dartmouth college". Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  2. ^ "Abdominal Reflex". 
  3. ^ "Dartmouth college". Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  4. ^ "Absent Abdominal Reflex". Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  5. ^ "Abdominal Reflex Evolutionary Significance". Retrieved 5 February 2013.