Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Radiography: abdomen

Contributor(s): Justin Goggin, Patsy Whelehan

Introduction

  • A large amount of information can be obtained from a plain abdominal radiograph if it is produced to a high standard and interpretation skills are high.
  • Plain abdominal radiography may need to be supplemented by contrast studies where further information is required about the gastrointestinal, urinary or reproductive tracts.
  • Ultrasonography is often a valuable supplementary procedure.
  • Image contrast must be maximized as the inherent subject contrast is low, particularly in thinner patients:
    • Relatively low kV values.
    • Use of a secondary radiation grid where the thickness exceeds about 10 cm.
    • Some films and screens have higher inherent contrast than others.
  • Breathing blur may occasionally be a problem, particularly when using lower output X-ray machines, but as the film is exposed on expiration, blur is less likely than in thoracic radiography.
    Exposure on expiration facilitates better demonstration of abdominal contents, in addition to minimizing risk of breathing movement blur.
  • Close collimation of the primary beam should be practised at all times.
  • The objective is to produce a radiograph which includes the whole area of interest, is correctly exposed and developed, and is free from movement blur and artefacts.
  • The film should be clearly marked with the anatomical marker, the patient's identification, the date and the name of the hospital or practice.

Uses

Advantages

  • Non-invasive.
  • Relatively simple procedure.

Disadvantages

  • Supplementary procedures, eg ultrasonography or contrast studies are frequently required.
  • Shortcomings in technique make interpretation particularly difficult, eg low contrast image may mimic pathology.

Requirements

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Preparation

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Procedure

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Scrivani P V, Yeager A E, Dykes N L et al (2001) Influence of patient positioning on sensitivity of mesenteric portography for detecting an anomalous portosystemic blood vessel in dogs - 34 cases (1997-2001). JAVMA 219 (9), 1251-1253 VetMedResource.


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