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Abdominal X-ray

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Abdominal X-ray

(Flat Plate of the Abdomen; Kidneys, Ureter, Bladder; KUB)


X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the inside of the body. This type of x-ray takes a picture of the organs in the belly.

Abdominal X-ray

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Reasons for Test

This test may be done when there is a problem in the area from the chest to the pelvis, such as:

Possible Complications

X-rays do not cause short-term health complications. But radiation doses may build up in the body over time. The more x-rays you have, the more radiation there will be. This can raise the risk of some cancers. The risk is higher in children and women who could get or are pregnant.

Lead safety shields are used during x-rays. They help lower the amount of radiation to the body.

What to Expect

Prior to Test

The care team will meet with you to talk about:

  • Any allergies you may have
  • Whether you may be pregnant
  • Whether you have taken any bismuth medicines within the last 4 days
  • Whether you had a barium contrast x-ray within the last 4 days

Description of Test

You will be asked to remove any jewelry.

A lead shield may be placed on other parts of the body. This will help to lower exposure to radiation.

You will lie flat on your back under the x-ray machine. You will be asked to remain still while the x-ray is taken. The device will send x-rays through your body. The x-rays will be captured on the other side of the body by a computer or on film. Between x-rays, you may be asked to move into another position. You may also be asked to stand upright.

After Test

You will be able to leave after the test is done.

How Long Will It Take?

About 10 minutes

Will It Hurt?

Most people do not have any problems after this test. You will be able to go back to normal activities.


The x-ray will be sent to a doctor who specializes in reading them. Your doctor will share the results with you.

Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.





  • Kidney, ureter, and bladder x-ray. Johns Hopkins Medical Center website. Available at:,P07719. Accessed September 15, 2020.
  • Reducing radiation from medical x-rays. US Food & Drug Administration website. Available at: Accessed September 14, 2020.
  • X-rays. Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association website. Available at: Accessed September 14, 2020.
  • X-ray (radiography)—abdomen. Radiological Society of North America Radiology Info website. Available at: Accessed September 14, 2020.
  • X-ray (radiography). Radiological Society of North America Radiology Info website. Available at: Accessed September 14, 2020.
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.