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Abdominal x-ray densities (summary)

Dr Daniel J Bell and Dr Vikas Shah et al.
This is a basic article for medical students and other non-radiologists

Abdominal x-ray review is a key competency for medical students, junior doctors and other allied health professionals. Using ABDO X is a helpful and systematic method for abdominal x-ray review, where D refers to the assessment of dense structures such as the bones and areas of calcification.

Reference article

This is a summary article; we do not have a more in-depth reference article.

  • introduction
    • several bony structures are visible on an abdominal x-ray and should be evaluated carefully
    • calcification may also be visible and may provide a clue as to the cause of the patient's symptoms and signs
  • procedure
    • evaluate all of the bones visible on the x-ray as you would on any other x-ray
      • look at the contours, density, trabecular pattern, areas of lysis or sclerosis
      • you may see the lower thoracic vertebral bodies, all of the lumbar vertebral bodies, sacrum, iliac blades, ischium, femoral heads and necks, and lowest ribs
      • Paget disease of the pelvis is frequently identified on abdominal x-rays
    • examine the renal shadows and paths of the ureters for small densities which indicate stones
    • gallstones are radiopaque in approximately 15-20% of cases
    • small pelvic calcifications are likely to be phleboliths
    • calcified lymph nodes are also sometimes identified
    • other calcifications include:
Medical student radiology curriculum

Article information

rID: 57004
Section: Approach
Tag: summary
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: calcified abdominal aortic aneurysm
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  • Case 2: encapsulating peritoneal sclerosis
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