Some abdominal conditions that are not already strongly suspected based on symptoms and patient history, can be cleared up with a simple x-ray. Radiologists are trained to recognise a huge number of different signs on x-ray images, which indicate specific problems. For example, if a radiologist sees a shape that resembles a twisted balloon in the area of the large bowel, this is a strong indicator of sigmoid volvulus, also known as a twisted bowel.

The arrows on this x-ray image show where the twisting has occurred. A tube inserted into the lower end of the bowel can help to untwist the bowel, as it did in this case.

Twisted bowel (sigmoid volvulus)