How to Locate the Upper Outer Quadrant

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Mammogram reports use the quadrant method for identification.
Mammogram reports use the quadrant method for identification. (Image: Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The human body is a composition of various body parts. These body parts are often described by physicians on a quadrant basis. This is a method of dividing each body part into four pieces to easily discern a specific area of pain, point of treatment or feature of interest. The quadrant method is used mainly to describe breasts and gluteal muscles. The process is used most often for these body parts to indicate an area where a tumor is present, or where intramuscular injections must be administered.

Things You'll Need

  • Mirror
  • Washable marker

Breasts

Stand squarely in front of a mirror with both hands at your sides and lifted halfway.

Observe the general shape of the breast.

Draw a circle around the areola or colored area of skin that surrounds the nipple. The edges of the circle should be tight around the colored area.

Draw a horizontal line which extends from the center of your armpit to the middle of your sternum. The horizontal line should pass through the middle of the circle drawn in step 3. Your sternum can be located by gently pushing on the left and right side of the chest as you move closer to the center of your chest. The sternum is the vertical bone which is located between the right and left side of the rib cage. The ribs are connected to this vertical bone with cartilage.

Draw a vertical line which extends from the bottom of your collar bone or clavicle. The line should pass under the breast and terminate at the point where the breast tissue meets up with the abdominal skin. The collar bone can be located by gently pushing underneath your shoulder where your bra strap lays. Locate the horizontal bone and feel along the diameter of the bone until the bottom side of the bone is identified.

Determine the area which is on the top of the breast and closest to your armpit. This is the upper, outer quadrant.

Gluteal Muscles

Stand in front of a mirror. Turn around so that your back is squarely positioned to the mirror.

Gently feel along the upper thigh bone and locate the area where your thigh bone is inserted into the hip joint. Locate this area on both the right and left side of your body.

Draw a horizontal line between the two points identified in step 2.

Locate the division between each buttock. Look at either the left or right buttock and determine the middle of the horizontal line identified in step 2. Draw a vertical line from the top of the buttock, through the middle of the horizontal line and pass under the buttock to the point where the buttock meets the skin of the upper thigh.

Determine the area which is on the top of the buttock and closest to your hip bone. This is the upper, outer quadrant.

Tips & Warnings

  • Breast cancer tumors are more prevalent in the upper, outer quadrant. Intramuscular injections are often administered in the upper, outer quadrant of the buttock, due to the increased amount of muscular tissue. The excess muscular tissue helps absorb and spread the medication at a consistent rate.

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