Abdominal X-ray Test

Abdominal X-ray (Kidney, Ureter, and Bladder Radiography, KUB, Flat Plate X-ray of the Abdomen, Scout Film)

Abdominal X-ray (Kidney, Ureter, and Bladder Radiography, KUB, Flat Plate X-ray of the Abdomen, Scout Film) 
Abdominal X-ray

Test Description  

The abdominal x-ray, often referred to as a flat plate of the abdomen or KUB, provides an overall view of the lower abdomen that shows the position of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder. The ureters are not normally visible on the KUB unless abnormal, as when calculi are present. The test is a simple x-ray film with the patient in a supine position. It requires no physical preparation of the patient. Renal enlargement, renal displacement, congenital anomalies, and renal or ureteral calculi are just a few of the abnormalities that may be seen as a result of this test. In addition to abnormalities of the urinary tract, the KUB may be used to assess for the presence of ascites and for gas within the intestines, which may occur with intestinal obstruction.
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 The plain film of the abdomen may be sufficient to diagnose ureterolithiasis in patients with known stone disease and previous KUBs. The sensitivity of the KUB for ureterolithiasis in other patients is poor; such patients might benefit more from having a noncontrast CT.

Normal Values  

Normal size, shape, and location of kidneys. Ureters not seen. Bladder shown as shadow. Normal intestinal gas pattern.

Possible Meanings of Abnormal Values 

  • Accumulation of gas in intestine
  • Ascites
  • Calculi 
  • Congenital abnormalities 
  • Cysts Hydronephrosis 
  • Intestinal obstruction 
  • Paralytic ileus 
  • Renal trauma 
  • Tumor Vascular calcifications

Contributing Factors to Abnormal Values 

Any movement by the patient may alter quality of films taken. Retained barium, gas, or stool in the intestines may alter the test results. 



  • Explain to the patient the purpose of the test.  Provide any written teaching materials available on the subject.  Note that the test involves no discomfort. 
  • No fasting is required before the test.
  • The test should be completed before the patient has any diagnostic tests involving A barium. 


  • The patient is assisted to a supine position on the radiography table.
  • The patient’s arms are extended overhead. 
  • Films are taken of the patient’s abdomen. 


  • Report abnormal findings to the primary care provider. 
  • Schedule any additional testing for differential diagnosis as ordered. R

Clinical Alerts 

 The test should be scheduled prior to or at least 24 hours after any barium studies are conducted.



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Dr Lobby | DrLobby.com: Abdominal X-ray Test
Abdominal X-ray Test
Abdominal X-ray (Kidney, Ureter, and Bladder Radiography, KUB, Flat Plate X-ray of the Abdomen, Scout Film)
Dr Lobby | DrLobby.com
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