X-ray is a picture of structures and
organs in the belly (abdomen). This includes the
stomach, liver, spleen, large and small intestines, and the diaphragm, which is
the muscle that separates the chest and belly areas. Often two X-rays will be
taken from different positions. If the test is being done to look for certain
problems of the kidneys or bladder, it is often called a KUB (for
kidneys, ureters, and bladder ).
X-rays are a form of radiation, like
light or radio waves, that are focused into a beam, much like a flashlight
beam. X-rays can pass through most objects including the human body. X-rays make a picture by striking a detector that
either exposes a film or sends the picture to a computer. Dense tissues
in the body, such as bones, block (absorb) many of the X-rays and look white on
an X-ray picture. Less dense tissues, such as muscles and organs, block fewer
of the X-rays (more of the X-rays pass through) and look like shades of gray on
an X-ray. X-rays that pass mostly through air, such as through the lungs, look
black on the picture.
An abdominal X-ray may be one of the first
tests done to find a cause of belly pain, swelling, nausea, or vomiting. And
other tests (such as
CT scan, or
intravenous pyelography) may be used to look for more
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Howard Schaff, MD - Diagnostic Radiology
April 24, 2012
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