Abnormal bowel gas pattern
This brief tutorial has discussed the important abnormalities of bowel gas which may be demonstrated on an abdominal X-ray.
If bowel perforation is suspected don't forget to request an erect chest X-ray.
In the context of obstruction, the level may be determined on an abdominal X-ray.
There is also a role for abdominal X-rays in the assessment of an acute exacerbation of inflammatory bowel disease.
Tutorial key points
- Suspected bowel obstruction or perforation are the main indications for abdominal X-ray
- An ERECT chest X-ray should be requested if perforation is suspected
- The pattern of bowel dilatation may help determine a level of obstruction
- Occasionally features of inflammatory bowel disease are demonstrated on abdominal x-rays