Abdominal X-ray - System and anatomy
Bones

Key points

  • Systematically examine the bones
  • All bones are better visualized with dedicated images
  • Bones act as landmarks for other structures

All bones seen on an abdominal X-ray are better visualized with dedicated images. Nevertheless, it is important to carefully examine the bones visible on an abdominal x-ray because clinically important bone disease may be identified on an abdominal X-ray, either as a significant unexpected finding or as an unsuspected cause of abdominal symptoms.

Bones visible on an abdominal X-ray include the lower ribs, the lumbar spine, the sacrum, coccyx, pelvis and proximal femora.

Here are their normal appearances.

Normal bones - Abdominal X-ray

Hover on/off image to show/hide findings

Tap on/off image to show/hide findings

Click image to align with top of page

Normal bones on abdominal X-ray

  • The lower ribs, lumbar vertebrae and sacrum are highlighted.
  • Bones can be used as landmarks for invisible soft tissue structures. Note the transverse processes of the lumbar vertebrae act as landmarks for the course of the ureters (arrowheads). The vesico-ureteric junctions (asterisks) are located at the level of the ischial spines (arrows).

Normal bones - Abdominal X-ray

Hover on/off image to show/hide findings

Tap on/off image to show/hide findings

Click image to align with top of page

Normal bones on abdominal X-ray

  • The sacrum, coccyx, pelvic bones and proximal femora are highlighted. The sacro-iliac joint is formed by the overlapping of the sacrum and iliac bones of the pelvis.