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The forearm series is comprised of an anteroposterior and lateral projection. The series examines the entire radius and ulna including articulations distally and proximal. Typically requested for midshaft injuries, the forearm series is not a 'two-for-one' projection of the wrist and the elbow joint due to divergent beam artefact (Figure 1) at both ends of the image 2.
Forearm x-rays are indicated for a variety of settings including:
suspected foreign body
demonstrates the radius and the ulna in the natural anatomical position
projection 90° to the AP view
illustrates partial overlapping of the radius and ulna
Modified trauma projections
Where patients are in a considerable amount of pain, these two projections may replace the standard projections instead to obtain diagnostic images of the radius and ulna whilst requiring little to no patient movement.
demonstrates PA wrist distally and lateral elbow proximally
demonstrates lateral wrist distally and AP elbow proximally
modified lateral projection that requires little to no patient movement
produces a diagnostic lateral projection without risking patient pain
Patients should remove any jewelry or clothing over the arm to avoid artifact.