PAINE #PANCE Pearl – Surgery


When looking an abdominal radiograph, what are the bowel diameter measurements that are generally NOT normally exceeded and would be concerning for potential obstruction?


The normal diameter of the intestines on an abdominal radiograph generally do not exceed:

  • 3 cm for small bowel
  • 6 cm for the colon
  • 9 cm for the cecum

This is often referred to as the 3/6/9 rule.


  1. Radiopaedia.
  2. Geeky Medis.

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