Reasons, Procedure & Preparation Required For an Abdominal X-Ray

Submitted on March 27, 2012

What is an Abdominal X-Ray?

It is an image of the organs and structures in the abdomen, which includes the diaphragm, small and large intestines, spleen, liver, and stomach. If the X-ray test is being done to find out problems in the kidneys, ureters, and bladder, then the test is known as KUB abdominal X-ray. X-rays are radio waves or a form of radiation that can pass through the human body.

An abdominal X-ray like abdominal X-ray constipation or abdominal X-ray bowel obstruction is done to find out the cause of vomiting, nausea, swelling or belly pain.

Reason Why It is Conducted

This kind of X-ray is generally done to -

  • Find out why a patient is vomiting, has nausea, inflammation or pain due to some problem in the stomach.
  • Look for the reason behind pain in the lower back or the spine.
  • Look for stones in the bladder, ureters, kidneys, and gallbladder.
  • Look for an object that may have been placed inside the body cavity or has been swallowed.
  • To confirm if the doctor has placed the tubes for some treatment correctly.


You must discuss certain points with your doctor before you have an X-ray. You must tell your physician if -

  • You are pregnant. This sort of X-ray is generally not done for pregnant women because the baby might get exposed to radiation.
  • Have had medicines in the recent past that contained bismuth.
  • Have had an X-ray that used barium contrast material.

You will be asked to take off your jewelry and empty your bladder before the X-ray is done. You can ask your doctor questions about the procedure or address any of your concerns.


Abdominal series X-ray is generally done by a radiology technologist, and the images are read and interpreted by a radiologist.

  • You might be asked to change into a hospital gown for the test.
  • Once you are lying on your back on the table, a lead apron will cover your lower pelvic area. This is a protecting cover so that the rays do not harm the internal organs in the pelvis.
  • Then the X-ray machine is positioned and placed over the abdomen and you will need to hold your breath while the pictures are taken.
  • The whole procedure can take about five to ten minutes.