Passing small, highly controlled amounts of radiation through the body and capturing the resulting
shadows on a digital screen creates an x-ray image. Doctors commonly order plain x-rays of the abdomen. This examination takes 5-10 minutes to complete.
Common Reasons for Plain X-rays of the Abdomen
Some of the more common reasons why your doctor would order plain x-rays of the abdomen include:
- Abdominal, flank, or testicular pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Constipation or obstruction (no bowel movements)
- Abdominal injury
- Assessment of a tube in the stomach
Who should not have Plain X-rays of the Abdomen?
The abdomen x-ray, and indeed all x-ray examinations, should not be performed on pregnant women except when the information provided by the test is vital to treatment of the patient and there are no suitable alternatives.
How do I prepare for the test?
No preparation is required.
Who performs the examination?
An x-ray technologist (someone trained to take x-ray images) performs the examination.
What happens during the examination?
After registering with the receptionist, you will be asked to change into a gown. It is important that no metal (jewelry, zippers, etc.) be in the area being x-rayed. You will have to remove all of your clothing except your underwear, shoes and socks. You will be taken to an x-ray room where one or more pictures of your abdomen will be taken while you hold your breath for each picture. You will have to wait while the pictures are checked. A repeat picture is occasionally required.
What are the risks of the procedure?
All x-rays involve receiving a controlled amount of radiation. The risk associated with the radiation received during a single x-ray examination is very small. While the exact likelihood is controversial, there is a very small chance of the radiation contributing to the development of a cancer many years in the future. The risks involved in everyday activities such as driving a car are far higher. Generally, the risk of not doing the x-ray far outweighs the risk of the small amount of radiation involved.
Who interprets the results and how do I get them?
The results are interpreted by one of our radiologists (a doctor who is specializes in reading x-ray and other images and doing procedures requiring imaging). The results are sent to the doctor who ordered the abdomen x-ray by courier or fax.
Arrangements to discuss the results of the abdomen x-ray can be made with the doctor who ordered it.
Are childcare (baby sitting) services available while I have my exam?
No childcare services are available. Please prearrange the following:
Adult supervision in the waiting room must be provided at all times for children while you, the caregiver, are having your exam completed. London X-Ray Associates staff will not be able to provide any childcare needs. We ask that all children be supervised by an adult, other than the patient, while at London X-Ray Associates.