What is the role of abdominal radiography in the workup of pediatric appendicitis?

Updated: Oct 25, 2018
  • Author: Adam C Alder, MD; Chief Editor: Carmen Cuffari, MD  more...
  • Print

Abdominal radiography findings are normal in many individuals with appendicitis. However, plain films may be helpful in the setting of severe constipation. A calcified appendiceal fecalith is present in less than 10% of persons with inflammation, but its presence suggests the diagnosis.

Radiographic signs suggestive of appendicitis include convex lumbar scoliosis, obliteration of the right psoas margin, right lower quadrant (RLQ) air-fluid levels, air in the appendix, and localized ileus. In rare incidents, a perforated appendix may produce pneumoperitoneum.

If no other imaging studies are to be performed, an abdominal series may be helpful.

For more information, see the Medscape Reference article Appendicitis Imaging.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!