It is not normal to remove a patient's gown during a physical examination; however, the patient must lift or open it for the physician to perform a thorough examination, states the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. Patients must remove their underwear for genital, rectal or breast examinations.
When a male undergoes a genital and rectal examination, he removes his underwear, stands in front of the physician, and lifts his gown approximately to his navel to expose his complete genital area for examination, notes the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. For a breast examination, a woman removes her underwear and puts on a gown. When the patient wears the gown with the opening in front, the physician can more easily expose one breast at a time for examination.