Ambulatory Care Network

Ambulatory Care Network

Improving the health and quality of life for New York City's communities


We Ask Because We Care!

NewYork-Presbyterian, Columbia, and Weill Cornell Medicine celebrate the diverse people and communities we serve. We will offer every patient the best care possible regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, cultural background, or language.

We will make every effort to make sure all patients have equal access to the highest quality of care. To support this mission, we will ask you questions about your background and preferred language. You can update your information today at

Your information is confidential. Sharing it is your choice. But we ask because we care about you and the health and wellbeing of all our patients.

At NewYork-Presbyterian, Columbia, and Weill Cornell Medicine, we put patients first.

About Sensitive Examinations and Procedures

In order to provide patients with the highest quality of care, the healthcare provider may need to perform an examination of sensitive areas, including the following:

  • Breast exam
  • Pelvic exam
  • Pap smear for cervical cancer screening
  • Male genital exam
  • Rectal exam  

To support the patient’s comfort and dignity:

  • The patient or the provider may request the presence of a medical chaperone, who is a trained member of our care team, for any exam, treatment, or procedure at any time.
  • For a patient receiving a pelvic or vaginal exam or procedure such as a Pap smear, a medical chaperone is required. For all other sensitive exams, a chaperone will be offered but it is not required.
  • If the patient is under the age of 18 a medical chaperone is required for all sensitive exams.
  • Before starting care, the healthcare provider will explain what will happen during the visit, so the patient will know what to expect.
  • The healthcare provider will step out of the room and give the patient privacy to change. The patient will be provided a gown to wear and a sheet to cover up their legs. The healthcare provider will come back into the room with a chaperone if it is required or requested. 
  • During the exam, the healthcare provider will inform the patient of what to expect before each part of the exam.

Breast Exam

The healthcare provider will manually palpate (touch with pressure) the patient’s breasts, feeling for lumps, thickening, or discharge.

Pelvic Exam

The patient will lie on their back on an exam table with knees bent and feet placed on the corners of the table or in footrests. The patient will be asked to slide their body toward the end of the table and let their knees fall open.  The pelvic exam usually consists of a visual external exam and an internal visual exam where the healthcare provider will use a speculum.

Pap Smear

The healthcare provider takes a sample from the cervix. Learn more about what to expect during an OB/GYN appointment.

Bimanual Exam

The healthcare provider will insert one or two gloved, lubricated fingers into the vagina to check internal female organs. With the other hand, they will gently apply pressure to the lower part of the belly. A rectal exam sometimes occurs at the end of a bimanual exam. This involves inserting one finger into the anus. The patient may feel slight discomfort when the clinician presses in certain places, but if it hurts, the patient should inform the provider.

Male Genital

The healthcare provider will complete a visual exam of the penis and a physical exam of the testicles for nodules, swelling, or tenderness.

Rectal Exam

The healthcare provider will examine the rectum, which may involve inserting one finger into the anus or inserting a short clear plastic tube called an anoscope. Sometimes a swab is inserted into the rectum to test for infection or a special tiny brush to test for abnormal cells.

Can I stop the physical exam if I feel uncomfortable?

Of course. It is your right to ask to stop the physical exam. We want you to feel in control of your body at all times.