Abdominal X-ray - Abnormal calcification
Artifact and foreign body

Key points

  • When presenting your findings of an abdominal X-ray note the presence of artifact - internal or external

Artifact can be due to medical devices or due to abnormally internalised objects.

This page demonstrates a selection of the many medical artifacts you may come across, or objects that are ingested by patients.

Naso-jejunal tube

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Naso-jejunal tube

  • Placed for the purpose of enteral feeding
  • The tube passes through the stomach and forms a C-shape as it navigates the 4 parts of the duodenum (D1-4)
  • The tube tip lies beyond the duodenojejunal flexure which lies on the left

Pig-tail (JJ) stent

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Pig-tail (JJ) stent

  • A ureteric stent has been placed to relieve ureteric obstruction
  • The catheter has loops (pig-tails) at both ends which hold it in place

Colonic stent

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Colonic stent

  • Large bowel obstruction can be treated with placement of a metallic colonic stent
  • This is often used as a temporary measure allowing a patient to recover from the effects of obstruction prior to definitive colonic resection

Inferior vena cava (IVC) filter

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Inferior vena cava (IVC) filter

  • An IVC filter may be used to reduce the risk of large pulmonary emboli
  • Most commonly used in patients who have had pulmonary embolism but for whom anticoagulation is contraindicated
  • IVC filters are self-expanding wire structures shaped like an umbrella
  • Small clots may pass between the wires of the filter but large clots are prevented from reaching the pulmonary arteries

Foreign body - ingested

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Foreign body - ingested

  • This psychiatric patient has ingested numerous radio-opaque objects
  • The navel jewellery is external!

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

Last reviewed: February 2016