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X-rays use beams of energy that pass through body tissues onto a special film and make a picture. They show pictures of your internal tissues, bones, and organs. Bone and metal show up as white on X-rays.
X-rays of the belly may be done to check the area for causes of abdominal pain. It can also be done to find an object that has been swallowed or to look for a blockage or a hole in the intestine.
Abdominal X-rays may be taken in the following positions:
When two or more of these views are taken, the set of films may be called an obstruction series. This series of X-rays is done to try to locate a site of an intestinal or abdominal blockage.
Abdominal X-rays may be used to diagnose causes of abdominal or belly pain. These can include things such as masses, holes in the intestine, or blockage. Abdominal X-rays may be done before other tests that look at the GI tract or urinary tract. These include an abdominal CT scan and renal or kidney tests.
Basic information regarding the size, shape, and position of abdominal organs can be seen with abdominal X-rays. Stones in the gallbladder, kidneys, or ureters may be seen. Calcification of the aorta may also be seen with an abdominal X-ray. There may be other reasons for your health care provider to recommend an abdominal X-ray.
You may want to ask your health care provider about the amount of radiation used during the procedure. Also ask about the risks related to your particular situation.
If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, you should tell your health care provider. Being exposed to radiation during pregnancy may lead to birth defects.
There may be other risks depending on your specific medical problem. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your health care provider prior to the procedure.
Recent barium X-rays of the abdomen or belly may affect the accuracy of an abdominal X-ray.
Abdominal X-rays may be done on an outpatient basis or as part of your hospital stay. Tests and procedures may vary depending on your condition.
Generally, abdominal X-rays follow this process:
While the X-ray procedure itself causes no pain, the manipulation of the body part being examined may cause some discomfort or pain, particularly if you’ve recently had surgery or been injured. The radiologic technologist will use all possible comfort measures and complete the procedure as quickly as possible to minimize any discomfort or pain.
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