Abdominal Imaging

Abdomen is a space between the thorax or the chest and the pelvis. Organs that are in the abdomen include digestive organs: stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, and gallbladder. These organs are supported with the help of connecting tissue, mesentery, that helps them in sliding against each other as well as change their shape due to the process of digestion. There also are numerous blood vessels that go through the abdomen, which include: aorta, inferior vena cave, and some smaller brunches.

Due to the location of numerous organs in the abdomen, this area is divided into smaller areas or the quadrants with the help of sagittal and transverse plane, which pass through the umbilicus at the 90-degree angle (Heller, 2011). This way, there are right upper quadrant, left upper quadrant, right lower quadrant, left lower quadrant (Heller, 2011).

The supine abdominal plain x-ray and the erect abdominal plain film are very similar. They provide the images of the anatomy of the same regions and organs; however, there exists a certain difference for each of the methods. The main difference between the two lays in the projections that the two expose: the supine abdominal plain x-ray shows the frontal projection, while the erect projection exposes the anatomy in profile (Radiology Masterclass).

Erect abdominal plain film has also the advantage in exposure of the air-fluid levels. X-rays of the abdomen are usually performed to evaluate the abdominal area for the reasons of pains, to locate the foreign objects that were swallowed, to identify obstruction or perforation in the area, identify the size of the organs (Radiology Masterclass). Supine x-ray can be also utilized to identify the state of urinary tract, while erectile x-ray can be involved when there is a need to assess the organs of the upper abdomen.

Decubitus x-ray, or the x-ray when a patient is lying on the side, while the x-rays pass through the body from back to the front. Lateral decubitus is utilized when the demonstration of the air-fluid interface is required (Radiology Masterclass). Dorsal decubitus is when a patient is supine and the rays from though the body from left to right or right to left. These x-rays are usually used when a patient is very sick and has a hard time moving. It can be also utilized for examination of the spine when a patient cannot take the standard lateral position.

An abdominal x-ray is basically an image of structures and organs that are located in that area (Bickle, Kelly, 2002; MedlinePlus; Radiology Masterclass). They are performed in order to locate the cause of pain, swelling, nausea, vomiting, pains in the spine, or urinary tract; locate air outside of the intestines, foreign objects, learn about the position of the tubes that were used by the doctor for the treatment.

There usually is only 1 image for 1 take, and it takes about a minute to perform the x-ray, results are ready within an hour in urgent and within 48 hours in …
Posted by: Otelia Barratt

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