A multiplicity of diagnostic modalities is available to evaluate the abdomen. These diagnostics are applied radically differently depending on whether the patient has sustained blunt or penetrating trauma. No test is foolproof, and each must be used in conjunction with an assessment of the patient's stability as well as associated injuries and physical findings. All too often the discussion surrounding evaluation of the abdomen centers on what diagnostic test should be used. Clinicians often fail to take into account several key issues such as the limitations of the diagnostic test and whether the patient needs abdominal evaluation at all.
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