Abdominal X-ray - Abnormal soft tissues and bones
Solid organs

Key points

  • If enlarged the solid organs of the abdomen may displace bowel

Although ultrasound and CT are more informative means of imaging the solid organs of the abdomen, occasionally you will see evidence of enlarged organs on an abdominal X-ray.

Hepatomegaly

Hover on/off image to show/hide findings

Tap on/off image to show/hide findings

Click image to align with top of page

Hepatomegaly

  • There is diffuse soft tissue density shadowing in the right upper quadrant due to hepatomegaly (liver enlargement)
  • The enlarged liver has displaced the normal bowel downwards and to the left (arrows)
  • The spleen is also mildly enlarged

Massive splenomegaly

Hover on/off image to show/hide findings

Tap on/off image to show/hide findings

Click image to align with top of page

Massive splenomegaly

  • This patient with a myeloproliferative disorder has both hepatomegaly and massive splenomegaly
  • There is generalised increase in soft tissue density but the bowel appears pushed away by the edge of the spleen

Enlarged kidneys

Hover on/off image to show/hide findings

Tap on/off image to show/hide findings

Click image to align with top of page

Enlarged kidneys

  • Both kidneys are very enlarged
  • The bowel is not displaced because the kidneys are retroperitoneal structures
  • This patient had a family history of polycystic kidneys
  • This diagnosis was confirmed with ultrasound

Page author: Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust UK (Read bio)

Last reviewed: February 2016