Fetus: on abdominal radiograph

Case contributed by Dr Ian Bickle

Presentation

Complex past surgical history with numerous operations for inflammatory bowel disease. Presents with symptoms of obstruction.

Patient Data

Age: 30 years
Gender: Female
X-ray

A second trimester foetus is identified with its head in the pelvis and spine on the right side of the mother's abdomen.

The bowel is normal caliber, but displaced superiorly by the enlarged uterus containing a foetus.

Annotated image

A zoomed up image with overlay highlighting the fetal femur, spine and head.

Case Discussion

On rare occasions following discussion and when clinical indications dictate, imaging of the abdomen with ionizing radiation is undertaken. However, a fetus on an abdominal radiograph is usually an incidental finding or found in a patient with a concealed pregnancy.

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