What Can an Abdominal X-Ray Diagnose? Everything You Need to Know

x ray of abdomen
x ray of abdomen

When your abdomens get stomachaches or other pains, your doctor may want to take an x-ray of the area to get a better look at what’s going on. This diagnostic test is called an abdominal x-ray.

An abdominal x-ray is a diagnostic test that creates images of the structures in your abdomen, including your organs and bones. This test is also called a abdominal radiograph or an abdominal film.

If you want to learn more about abdominal x-rays, read on this article and find out how it works, the risks involved, and what happens if you undergo one.

What is an abdominal x-ray?

An abdominal x-ray is a painless procedure that involves exposing the abdomen to a small amount of ionizing radiation to produce images of the structures inside. The x-ray pictures are recorded on a computer or film.

This diagnostic test is used to evaluate the cause of abdominal pain, as well as to look for signs of disease or injury in the abdominal organs and bones. It can also be used to monitor the progress of treatment for certain abdominal conditions.

Why Are Abdominal X-Rays Done?

Your doctor may recommend an abdominal x-ray if you have:

  • Abdominal pain
  • rectal bleeding
  • a change in your bowel habits
  • a history of abdominal surgery or radiation therapy

These are just some of the reasons why your doctor may want you to undergo an abdominal x-ray.

What can an abdominal x-ray diagnose?

what can an abdominal x ray diagnose

An abdominal x-ray can help diagnose a number of conditions, such as:

  • appendicitis
  • gallstones
  • hernia
  • inflamed intestines
  • kidney stones
  • pancreatitis
  • ulcers

How does the abdominal x-ray procedure work?

An abdominal x-ray procedure is not complicated and usually takes less than 10 minutes to complete.

You will be asked to remove any clothing, jewelry, or other objects that may interfere with the x-ray images. You will then be given a lead apron to wear to protect your reproductive organs from exposure to the x-ray beam.

You will be asked to lie on your back on an x-ray table. Your doctor or the x-ray technologist will position you so that your abdomen is exposed to the x-ray beam.

A special x-ray machine called a fluoroscope may be used to guide the X-ray beam during the procedure. This machine produces real-time images of your abdomen on a monitor.

Once the x-ray is complete, you will be asked to wait until the technologist has reviewed the images. The images will then be sent to a radiologist for interpretation.

What are the risks of an abdominal x-ray?

abdomen image

An abdominal x-ray is generally considered a safe procedure with minimal risks.

Such risks that can involve are:

  • Allergic reaction to the IV contrast dye
  • Exposure to ionizing radiation, which can increase your risk of cancer
  • Pregnancy risks, such as miscarriage or birth defects
  • Kidney damage from the IV contrast dye

Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure with you before it is done.

How do I get ready for an abdominal x-ray?

You don’t need to do anything special to prepare for an abdominal x-ray. But it’s essential that you follow your doctor’s instructions.

Here are some things you can prepare before your scheduled abdominal x-ray:

  • Inform your doctor of any allergies, especially to iodine or seafood. You may be given a different contrast dye if you have an allergy to iodine.
  • Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or think you might be pregnant. An abdominal x-ray is usually not done during pregnancy unless it’s an emergency.
  • Make sure to empty your bladder before the procedure.

What happens during an abdominal x-ray?

During the procedure, you will be asked to:

  1. Remove any clothing, jewelry, or other objects that may interfere with the x-ray images. You will be given a lead apron to wear to protect your reproductive organs from exposure to the x-ray beam.
  2. Lie on your back on an x-ray table. The technologist will position you so that your abdomen is exposed to the x-ray beam.
  3. A special x-ray machine called a fluoroscope may be used to guide the X-ray beam during the procedure. This machine produces real-time images of your abdomen on a monitor.

Once the x-ray is complete, you will be asked to wait until the technologist has reviewed the images. The images will then be sent to a radiologist for interpretation.

What happens after an abdominal x-ray?

After the procedure, you can resume your normal activities. If you received IV contrast dye during the procedure, you may be instructed to drink lots of fluids to help flush it out of your system.

Your doctor will discuss the results of your abdominal x-ray with you at your next appointment.

Who interprets the results and how do I get them?

how to read an abdominal x ray

When an abdominal x-ray is being done for diagnostic purposes, it is important that the images be interpreted by a radiologist. A radiologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing diseases using imaging techniques such as x-rays.

The radiologist will review the images and send a report to your doctor. Your doctor will discuss the results of the abdominal x-ray with you at your next appointment.

What are the limitations of an abdominal x-ray?

An abdominal x-ray is a useful imaging tool, but it has its limitations. Because it only produces images of the structures in your abdomen, it can’t provide information about the function of those organs.

In addition, an abdominal x-ray may not be able to detect small abnormalities in the abdomen. If your doctor suspects that you have a condition that can’t be detected with an abdominal x-ray, he or she may order additional testing.

How much will you have to pay for the test or procedure?

In the US, the average cost of an abdominal x-ray is $100-$300. However, the exact cost will depend on your insurance coverage and the facility where the procedure is performed.

If you don’t have insurance or if your insurance doesn’t cover the cost of the procedure, you may be able to negotiate a payment plan with the facility where the procedure is being done.

Have an Abdominal X-Ray Today!

Abdominal x-rays are a quick and painless way to get a look at the organs in your abdomen. If you’re experiencing abdominal pain or other symptoms related to a problem with one of your abdominal organs, an abdominal x-ray can help your doctor make a diagnosis.

We at Rice Emergency Room are here to help. We offer a variety of imaging services, including abdominal x-rays. We accept most major insurance plans, and we offer convenient walk-in hours. We are located in Houston, Texas.

If you need an abdominal x-ray in Texas, don’t hesitate to come to see us today!

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