Alternative Names abdominal film, 3 way abdominal series, abdominal obstructive series, kidney, ureters and bladder film, KUB film, "flatplate" of the abdomen
Definition An abdominal film usually indicates a series of x-rays taken to diagnose certain abdominal problems.
Who is a candidate for the test? A doctor may recommend this test for a person who has:
swelling, pain, or a mass in the abdomen
severe constipation, diarrhoea, or vomiting
How is the test performed? X-rays are electromagnetic waves of energy that form a picture of bones or other tissues inside the body. The density of the tissue helps dictate how far the x-rays penetrate. Tiny amounts of radiation absorbed by the tissues produce various grades of black and white on x-ray film. An x-ray examination is painless.
When abdominal films are taken, the x-rays may include the:
upright abdomen, which is taken while standing
flat abdomen, which is taken while lying down
A person unable to stand may be asked to lie on his or her left side for one of the films.
What is involved in preparation for the test? A person having an X-ray will completely undress and put on a hospital gown. All jewellery-including pierced body jewellery-must be removed. The person will be asked:
if he or she has any metal objects in their body
if he or she has taken any medication with bismuth in it, such as Pepto-bismol
when he or she last ate or had something to drink
if he or she has had any barium x-ray examinations in the past 4 to 5 days
detect pneumonia, which could be the cause of abdominal symptoms, such as pain.
Author: James Compton, MD Reviewer: eknowhow Medical Review Panel Editor: Dr John Hearne Last Updated: 6/06/2005 Contributors Potential conflict of interest information for reviewers available on request
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