Forearm series (summary)

Last revised by Andrew Murphy on 22 Jan 2019
This is a basic article for medical students and other non-radiologists

A forearm series (or forearm x-ray) is a much less common study to perform than its neighboring elbow or wrist series. Forearm imaging may be performed in children because of difficulty to localize pain, or where there has been focal trauma to the forearm.

The forearm series should not be considered a two-for-one examination of the elbow and wrist. Separate investigations of the wrist and elbow will produce higher spatial resolution examination with less beam divergence issues.

Reference article

This is a summary article. For more information, you can read a more in-depth reference article: forearm series.


  • indications
    • suspicion of a forearm injury
      • i.e. not wrist and not an elbow injury
    • completion imaging when further injuries are suspected
      • isolated radial or ulnar fracture looking for further fracture or dislocation
    • younger children who cannot discriminate site of injury well
  • procedure
    • AP and lateral views of the forearm
      • in one view, the wrist will be AP and the elbow lateral
      • in the other view, the wrist will be lateral and elbow, AP
      • it is challenging to get perfect views, especially of the elbow
  • similar series
    • elbow series
      • distal humerus to mid-forearm
      • covers proximal radius and ulnar
    • wrist series
      • distal radius and ulna, carpals and proximal metacarpals
  • important pathology

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