Which imaging study is used in the initial workup of small-bowel obstruction (SBO)?

Updated: Apr 28, 2017
  • Author: Mityanand Ramnarine, MD, FACEP; Chief Editor: Steven C Dronen, MD, FAAEM  more...
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Answer

Obtain plain radiographs first for patients in whom SBO is suspected. Although not sensitive, upright abdominal films may help substantiate the diagnosis if the presence of air-fluid levels or a paucity of gas is observed. Note that supine films may obscure the detection of air-fluid levels. [4]


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