Abdominal radiology: tests and when to use them (curriculum)

Dr Jeremy Jones et al.

Abdominal radiology tests and when to use them are a set of articles that help to outline the common tests that may be used in radiology and what they are useful for.

Plain films (erect chest and supine abdomen), as well as ultrasound and CT abdomen, will be the bread and butter of the imaging performed for patients you will see on the ward and in a clinic.


  • erect CXR
    • performed to exclude perforation
  • AXR
    • first line imaging in some centres for potential obstruction
  • US abdomen
    • great for the biliary tree and renal tract
    • first line imaging investigation for deranged renal or liver function
    • requires the patient to be fasted for 4 hours
  • US renal
    • assessment of the renal tract (kidneys and bladder) only
    • requires the patient to have a full bladder
  • CT abdomen
    • high-dose examination
    • usually performed with IV contrast
    • high sensitivity for perforation and obstruction
    • find the cause of obstruction
    • excellent for assessment of intra-abdominal infection/inflammation
    • mass detection and characterisation
Medical student radiology curriculum
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rID: 47940
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Cases and figures

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    Case 1: normal CXR
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    Case 2: normal US abdomen
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    Case 3: normal CT abdomen
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