MRI of the elbow (an approach)

Last revised by Dai Roberts on 14 Jan 2023

MRI of the elbow is a fairly frequent examination in musculoskeletal radiology practice and not quite as common in general radiological practice. This approach is an example of how to create a radiological report of an elbow MRI with coverage of the most common anatomical sites of possible pathology, within the elbow without claim for completeness.

Systematic review

A systematic review in the MRI of the elbow is essential since elbow anatomy, pathologies and injury patterns and are rather complex and only rarely lead to an abnormality of a single structure but rather show diverse findings which might need to be addressed in further patient management.


The bony structures of the elbow, the pictured distal humerus with the trochlea, capitellum and the two epicondyles, the radial head and the proximal ulna with the olecranon are assessed:

Joint space and joint capsule
Ulnohumeral articulation

Assessment of the following structures:

Triceps tendon, ulnar nerve and posterior soft tissues

Assessment of the following structures:

Radiocapitellar articulation and proximal radio-ulnar joint

Assessment of the following structures:

Distal biceps tendon

Assessment of the distal biceps tendon insertion:

Volar soft tissues and median and radial nerves

Assessment of the following structures:

Common pathology

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