Abdominal x-ray organs (summary)

Dr Vikas Shah et al.

Abdominal x-ray review is a key competency for medical students, junior doctors and other allied health professionals. Using ABDO X is a helpful and systematic method for abdominal x-ray review, where O refers to the assessment of the intra-abdominal organs and soft tissues.

Reference article

This is a summary article; we do not have a more in-depth reference article.

  • introduction
    • abdominal radiographs are a blunt instrument for the evaluation of the abdominal organs due to the lack of soft tissue contrast resolution
    • the outline of the organs is visible due to the difference in density between the organ and the adjacent intra-abdominal fat
    • although not the reason for acquiring the radiograph, organomegaly may be seen
    • the soft tissues outside of the abdominal cavity, such as the lung bases and the inguinal regions, should also be carefully evaluated as they may contain abnormal findings that could explain abdominal symptoms
  • procedure
    • look for the outline of the liver, kidneys and spleen in the upper abdomen
    • liver
      • right upper quadrant
      • extends to the hemidiaphragm and past the midline
    • spleen
      • left upper quadrant
      • extends to the hemidiaphragm
    • psoas muscle
      • symmetrical triangles either side of the lumbar spine
      • narrowest near the diaphragm, widest at the pelvis
    • kidneys
      • sit on the psoas muscles
      • often just see the rounded lower pole
    • lung bases
      • pulmonary vessels in the bases projected over upper abdomen
    • hepatomegaly is inferred when there is extension of the right lobe inferior to the lower pole of the right kidney
    • splenomegaly and renomegaly are subjective radiograph findings as there are no reliable objective criteria
    • look at the lung bases for signs of airspace opacification; pneumonia may present with abdominal pain
    • look for bowel gas in the inguinal regions as a sign of a hernia causing bowel obstruction
Medical student radiology curriculum
Share article

Article information

rID: 57117
Section: Approach
Tag: summary
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Updating… Please wait.
Loadinganimation

Alert accept

Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.