Definition: Retractions

Definition: Retractions

Retractions

(Retracciones)

A retraction is a medical term for when the area between the ribs and in the neck sinks in when a person with asthma attempts to inhale. Retractions are a sign someone is working hard to breathe. Normally, when you take a breath, the diaphragm and the muscles around your ribs create a vacuum that pulls air into your lungs. (It's kind of like sucking liquid through a straw.) But if a person is having trouble breathing, extra muscles kick into action. These muscles cause retractions, which can be seen as the person tries to inhale.





Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2014 KidsHealth® All rights reserved.
Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com





Bookmark and Share

iGrow iGrow
Sign up for our parent enewsletter