Close Close


Learn more about our Visitor Policy and COVID-19 Resources.

General Radiology

X-ray of the Abdomen 

What is an Abdominal x-ray?

An abdominal x-ray is a picture of structures and organs in the abdomen.  This includes the stomach, liver, spleen, large and small intestines, and the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the chest and belly areas.  If the exam is being done to evaluate certain problems of the kidneys or bladder, it is referred to as a KUB (kidneys, ureters and bladder) and performed with the patient lying on their back.  Beverly Hospital's Radiology departments utilize advanced digital technology to produce high quality images with minimal doses of radiation to capture images of the body.

Why is it performed?

An abdominal x-ray is performed to:

  • Determine the cause of pain or swelling in the belly or chronic nausea and vomiting.
  • Determine the cause of pain in the lower back on either side of the spine (flank pain).
  • Display the size, shape and position of the liver, spleen, and kidneys
  • Look for stones in the gallbladder, kidneys, ureters, or bladder.
  • Look for air outside of the bowel. 
  • Find an object that has been swallowed or put into the body.
  • Confirm the proper position of tubes or catheters.

How should I prepare?

An abdominal x-ray requires no special preparation unless your doctor informs you otherwise.  You will be asked to remove all jewelry and clothing in the abdominal area and change into a hospital gown.

Women should always inform the technologist if there is any possibility that they may be pregnant. 

Inform your doctor if you have had a recent x-ray test that involved barium contrast material.  Barium can prevent a clear abdominal picture.

How is it performed?

A licensed Radiologic Technologist, an individual specially trained to perform radiology examinations, positions the patient on the table lying down on their back. For the second view, the patient is asked to lie on their side or even stand up. You will be asked to remain very still and keep from breathing for a few seconds, while the x-ray picture is taken to reduce the possibility of a blurred image. The technologist will walk behind a wall to activate the x-ray machine.

What will I experience during and after the procedure?

An abdominal x-ray itself is a painless procedure and usually complete within 10 minutes.

One of our board certified radiologists will interpret the images and send a report to your referring physician within 24-48 hours.