Free Air in the Abdomen, Part II

Clinical Skills session with Superdoc.  I am staring at the ‘normal’ abdominal x-ray wondering how the heck anyone is supposed to be able to see anything in there, other than the obvious bones.

Superdoc: First, look for the colours.

My brain: Um, it’s black and white.

Superdoc: There are hundreds of colours between black and white.

My brain: Fair enough.

Superdoc has an incredible ability to impart knowledge in a memorable way.  I can now look at an abdominal x-ray and pick out not just the bony structures and a slightly disturbing phantom sacral face, but I can also make a fair stab at whether the patient is young or old.

I can make out kidneys and their associated fatty bits, the psoas muscle, the bladder, calcium deposits like kidney stones, gall stones, porcelain gall bladder, and the phabulous phlebolith.  I recognise the shades of grey and distinctive striations representing large and small intestine.  I can see bubbles of gas.  If there is a metal object in your x-ray, I can find at least three explanations for it.  And if you’re really crook, I can see free air in the abdomen.


1 Comment

Filed under Med School

One response to “Free Air in the Abdomen, Part II

  1. RP

    Toast looks at C.T
    Mysterious abdomen
    Superdoc prevails!

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