Abdominal X-ray

General Information:

  • Description: X-rays are projected through the body onto x-ray film. The different densities and location of the organs, fluid and gases of the abdomen are revealed. Different conditions such as bowel perforation or bowel blockage have characteristic appearances that can be recognized. The test is performed in a doctor’s office or x-ray facility by a radiology technician and takes minutes to perform. A doctor interprets the film.
  • Results: 1-2 days; within 1 hour in an emergency
  • Risks of Procedure: Risks related to radiation exposure, although the dose is small. 
  • Other Names: KUB, abdominal film

Indications for the Test:

  • Evaluate abdominal pain or distention 
  • Look for evidence of bowel perforation, bowel blockage or a swallowed foreign object 


  • Remove your clothing and wear a hospital gown.


  • You stand in front of or lie on a x-ray machine. 
  • You hold your breath while the film is taken. 
  • Films may be taken from different angles.

After the Test:

  • After dressing, you may leave.


  • The test is quick.
  • The test is noninvasive.
  • The test is inexpensive.


  • Usually, the cause of any abnormality is not determined by the test.
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