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Abdominal x-ray
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Abdominal x-ray

Abdominal film; X-ray - abdomen; Flat plate; KUB x-ray

An abdominal x-ray is an imaging test to look at organs and structures in the abdomen. Organs include the spleen, stomach, and intestines.

When the test is done to look at the bladder and kidney structures, it is called a KUB (kidneys, ureters, bladder) x-ray.

Images

X-ray
Digestive system

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How the Test is Performed

The test is done in a hospital radiology department. Or, it may be done in the health care provider's office by an x-ray technologist.

You lie on your back on the x-ray table. The x-ray machine is positioned over your abdominal area. You hold your breath as the picture is taken so that the picture will not be blurry. You may be asked to change position to the side or to stand up for additional pictures.

Men will have a lead shield placed over the testes to protect against the radiation.

How to Prepare for the Test

Before having the x-ray, tell your provider the following:

You wear a hospital gown during the x-ray procedure. You must remove all jewelry.

How the Test will Feel

There is no discomfort. The x-rays are taken as you lie on your back, side, and while standing.

Why the Test is Performed

Your provider may order this test to:

Normal Results

The x-ray will show normal structures for a person your age.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Abnormal findings include:

Risks

There is low radiation exposure. X-rays are monitored and regulated to provide the minimum amount of radiation exposure needed to produce the image. Most experts feel that the risk is low compared to the benefits.

Pregnant women and children are more sensitive to the risks of the x-ray. Women should tell their provider if they are, or may be, pregnant.

Related Information

X-ray
Kidney stones
Abdominal pain
Nausea and vomiting - adults
Gallstones
Intestinal obstruction and Ileus
Abdominal aortic aneurysm
Appendicitis
Acute cholecystitis
Acute kidney failure
Addison disease
Adenomyosis
Annular pancreas
Ascariasis
Atheroembolic renal disease
Biliary atresia
Blind loop syndrome
Cholangitis
Chronic kidney disease
Cirrhosis
Echinococcosis
Encopresis
Hirschsprung disease
Aplastic anemia
Injury - kidney and ureter
Intussusception - children
Necrotizing enterocolitis
Nephrocalcinosis
Peritonitis - spontaneous bacterial
Intestinal pseudo-obstruction
Renal cell carcinoma
Toxic megacolon
Wilms tumor

References

Tomei E, Cantisani V, Marcantonio A, D'Ambrosio U, Hayano K. Plain radiography of the abdomen. In: Sahani DV, Samir AE, eds. Abdominal Imaging. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 1.

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Review Date: 2/7/2019  

Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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