Normal bowel gas pattern

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Normal bowel gas pattern

  • Normal bowel gas has very variable appearance.
  • In this example the wavy 'ruggae' of the stomach wall can be seen.
  • A short segment of the colon is prominent, but is not frankly dilated.
  • Faecal material is visible in the right hemi-colon.

Normal - with faeces

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Normal - with faeces

  • This is a normal abdominal X-ray with faecal material seen in the large bowel. There is no evidence of bowel obstruction or perforation.
  • The psoas muscle edge is clearly defined on the left, but not on the right. Although loss of this contour is associated with retroperitoneal pathology, such as psoas abscesses, it is also often absent on normal X-rays. Therefore, abdominal X-rays cannot be used to confidently diagnose retroperitoneal problems.

Normal soft tissues

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Normal soft tissues

  • Some abdominal X-rays show soft tissue structures better than others. The liver, spleen and kidneys are well-defined in this image.
  • X-rays are not routinely used to assess these organs. Ultrasound or CT are much more informative.