An Abdominal Radiograph

The abdominal radiograph is almost always evaluated in combination with a chest radiograph—for two good reasons:

• On the chest radiograph the directly subdiaphragmatic regions of the abdomen may be better appreciated because exposure parameters optimized for the lung are also well suited to imaging this area.

• Free intra-abdominal air rises to the nondependent portion of the abdomen and is therefore easily detected under the diaphragm on an upright radiograph. Other conditions that can present with abdominal pain as the cardinal symptom may be diagnosed, such as a basilar pneumonia.

If possible at all the chest radiograph should be performed with the patient standing up. The same is true for the abdominal radiograph. If the patient cannot stand, the examination should combine the supine radiograph with an additional exposure suited to demonstrate potential air-fluid levels and free air, e.g., in left lateral decubitus position with the beam directed through the patient in a horizontal fashion (parallel to the table).

I Abdominal Film a Normal radiograph a Normal radiograph

Abdominal Radiograph Normal
b Retroperitoneum
Radiograph Normal Lizard
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