Alternative Names: Abdominal X-ray, AXR
An abdominal X-ray, or AXR, is done to examine the abdomen and to investigate symptoms such as abdominal (stomach) pain, changes in bowel habits (constipation or diarrhoea) and swelling or masses in the abdomen. These symptoms may be caused by kidney stones, colon cancer, bowel obstruction, or cirrhosis of the liver. An X-ray creates images by using radiation, which passes through the body. On the image, air is black, dense structures (e.g. bone) are white, and there are greys in between. You would normally lie still on an X-ray table while the images are taken.
What is it?
An X-ray uses radiation, passed through the body, to create images. The different body structures appear as black, white, and shades of grey. Air is black, very dense structures (like bone) are white, with a range of greys in between.
An X-ray is performed in a radiology facility, although some machines are mobile and can be used in hospital wards and operating theatres. An X-ray usually takes less than an hour to perform.
Why is it done?
An abdominal X-ray is done to examine the abdomen.
It is often done to investigate symptoms such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Changes in bowel habit (constipation or diarrhoea)
- Abdominal mass or swelling
It is often done when considering diagnoses such as:
- Kidney stones
- Colon cancer
- Bowel obstruction
Before – how to prepare
No special preparation is needed although all jewellery and other metal objects should be removed.
During – how the test is done
You lie on an X-ray table and will be asked to take a deep breath. You hold your breath and lie very still for a few seconds while the X-ray is taken. There is no discomfort at all.
After the test
The results will be available a short time after the X-ray has been taken – usually an hour or so, depending on how quickly the radiologist is able to look at, and interpret, the images.
Risks and Compilations
There is a small risk associated with the radiation involved but most experts do not consider this to be a significant problem.
An abdominal X-ray, or AXR, is done to examine the abdomen and to investigate symptoms such as abdominal (stomach) pain, changes in bowel habits (constipation or diarrhoea) and swelling or masses in the abdomen.
abdominal x-ray, AXR, x-ray of abdomen