Brief Description – An abdominal x-ray is an imaging test used to look at organs and structures in the belly area. Organs include the spleen, liver, stomach and intestines. When the test is done to look at the bladder and kidney structures, it is called a KUB (kidneys, ureters, and bladder) x-ray.
Why the Test is Performed
Abdominal x-ray may be requested if your doctor suspects any of the following abnormalities:
- Blockage in the intestine
- Abdominal masses
- Build up of fluid in the abdomen
- Certain types of gallstones
- Foreign object in the intestines that may have been swallowed
- Hole in the stomach or intestines
- Injury to the abdominal tissue
- Intestinal blockage
- Kidney stones
- Pain in the abdomen or unexplained nauseaHow the Test is Performed
The test is done in a hospital radiology department by a radiographer or your doctor (radiologist). You have to 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.
How to Prepare For the Test
Before the x-ray, be sure to let your doctor know any of the following:
- If you are pregnant or think you could be pregnant
- Have an IUCD inserted
- Have had a barium contrast media x-ray in the last 4 days
If you are on any medication for any medical condition. Some of such drugs may affect the x-ray. A typical example is Pepto Bismol
You must remove all jewellery and sign an informed consent form.
During the Test
You will wear a hospital gown during the x-ray procedure. Try to be as calm as possible and comply with each instruction given to you to ensure quality pictures.
After the Test
After completion of the test, you should discuss with your doctor when you can resume any medications you may have suspended. Any lifestyle adjustments will be based on the results of the test.
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 when compared with the benefits. Pregnant women and children are more sensitive to the risks of the x-ray. You should tell your doctor if you are, or may be pregnant.
The ovaries and uterus cannot be shielded during the abdominal x-ray because of their location. Men should have a lead shield placed over the testes to protect against the radiation.