Abdominal X-Rays Made Easy is a small softcover book filled with pearls of wisdom to help “sort out the apparently overwhelming jumble of visual information which constitutes the abdominal X-ray” (conventional radiograph). The book contains 200 pages divided into 12 chapters covering solid organs, hollow organs, abnormal gas, ascites, abnormal calcification, the abdomen in women, trauma, iatrogenic objects, foreign bodies and artifacts, and the acute abdomen. From the first chapter, “How to Look at an Abdominal X-Ray” to the last, simply “Hints,” Begg shows the reader how to approach and make sense of abdominal conventional radiographs. With insights, warnings, morals, and humor, he shares many challenges of correctly interpreting these radiographs.
The book is brimming with lists and tables and contains 90 figures, most of them full-page reproductions of radiographs. Although the photographs are a bit grainy, the findings are easily seen and are often labeled. Each figure has a corresponding caption, and many are also discussed briefly in the text. The paper and printing are of good quality. The book is lightweight, easy to thumb through, and fits comfortably in a lab coat pocket. At $19.95, it is a great bargain.
Although the intended audience is medical students, clinical house staff, nurses, and radiologic technologists, I believe that radiology residents and radiologists could also glean many bits of useful information from it. The only other book I know of that deals exclusively with abdominal conventional radiographs is a much larger and more expensive hardcover textbook.
Abdominal X-Rays Made Easy is the second book in a series; the first is Chest X-Ray Made Easy by J. Corne, M. Carroll, I. Brown, and D. Delany (Philadelphia, Pa; Churchill Livingstone, 1997). As Begg notes in the preface, “Detecting abnormalities on X-rays can be immensely satisfying. You have in effect got to be like a policeman on the beat, looking for villains, so keep your eyes open and your brain switched on. The stakes are high, but so are the rewards of getting it right! This book will show you how to do it.” I guarantee that you will have lots of fun in the process!
Reviewed by Philip Goodman, MD