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The forearm is the region between the elbow and the wrist, containing the radius and ulna bones as well as numerous muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. 

Forearm pain or dysfunction can arise from a variety of conditions affecting these structures, and an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan can be a valuable diagnostic tool in evaluating the underlying cause.

Symptoms that May Warrant a Forearm MRI

Forearm pain can be caused by a variety of conditions, and an MRI scan may be warranted if you are experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Persistent or severe pain in the forearm, especially with movement or when lifting objects
  • Swelling or inflammation in the forearm
  • Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the forearm or hand
  • Limited range of motion in the elbow or wrist
  • Visible deformity, bruising, or discoloration in the forearm

If you are experiencing forearm pain, it's important to consult with a healthcare provider to determine if an MRI is necessary for diagnosis and treatment. 

Early intervention can help prevent further injury and promote healing.

When to Consider an Arm MRI Scan

A forearm MRI scan may be warranted if you are experiencing persistent or severe forearm pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, deformity, discoloration, bruising, or limited motion. 

What a Forearm MRI Scan Detects

This scan is particularly useful for diagnosing conditions affecting the soft tissues in the forearm, such as:

  • Muscle Strains or Tears: Damage to the muscles that may not be visible on other imaging tests.
  • Tendon or Ligament Injuries: Injuries to the tendons and ligaments, which are crucial for forearm movement and stability.
  • Arthritis or Joint Problems: Issues in the soft tissues surrounding the elbow or wrist joints.
  • Tumours or Other Growths: Abnormal masses or lumps within the soft tissues.

Overall, a forearm MRI provides detailed images of the soft tissues, helping to identify the underlying cause of forearm symptoms and guide appropriate treatment.

How to Prepare for Your Forearm MRI Scan

Here are the key steps to prepare for your forearm MRI scan:

Before Your Appointment

  • Remove all jewelry, watches, and any metal objects before your appointment. Metal can interfere with the magnetic field of the MRI machine.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing without zippers, snaps, or metal. You may be asked to change into a gown.
  • Inform your doctor and the MRI technologist if you have any metal implants, a pacemaker, aneurysm clips, a metal plate, or recent surgery with staples. Certain metals can be unsafe in an MRI machine.
  • If you have claustrophobia or anxiety about enclosed spaces, discuss this with your doctor. You may be given a mild sedative to help you relax. Bring someone with you for support if needed.
  • Take all medications as usual, unless instructed otherwise by your doctor. Eat and drink normally.

During the Scan

  • You will lie on a padded table that slides into the MRI machine. The machine is open on both ends.
  • You will be given earplugs or headphones to wear due to the loud knocking noises the machine makes during imaging. You can still hear and communicate with the technologist.
  • It's important to lie very still during the scan to avoid blurry images. You can breathe normally.
  • If contrast dye is used, it will be injected into a vein in your arm or hand before the scan. Let the technologist know if you feel any discomfort from the IV.
  • The scan itself is painless and takes 20-90 minutes, depending on the body part being imaged.

After the Scan

  • You can resume normal activities and diet immediately after the scan, unless sedation was used. If sedated, you will need someone to drive you home.
  • Contact your doctor if you experience any pain, swelling, redness, or other unusual symptoms after the scan.

Let the MRI technologist know if you have any questions or concerns at any point during the process. Following these simple preparation steps will help ensure your forearm MRI scan goes smoothly.

Affordable and Accessible Arm MRI Scans with GetScanned

At GetScanned, we offer high-quality, affordable arm MRI scans in a comfortable and convenient setting. Our experienced team of radiologists and technicians is dedicated to providing accurate diagnoses and personalized care.

Schedule Your Forearm MRI Scan with GetScanned!

A forearm MRI can provide crucial diagnostic information to guide treatment, but should be used judiciously based on the clinical presentation and radiographic findings. It is a safe and effective tool when other examination and imaging results are inconclusive.

Don't let forearm pain or discomfort go undiagnosed. Schedule your arm MRI scan with GetScanned today.

Lorea content writter
Reviewed by
Dr. Sachin Shah
Clinical Lead
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Frequently asked questions

Do I need a GP-referral?

No prior GP-referral is required. Booking with us includes a GP phone consultation and referral. Shortly after booking you will be contacted by a GP from our team who will discuss your scan and provide a referral.

How long is an MRI scan?

MRI scans generally take a bit longer than other types of scans. Individual scans take 10-30 minutes depending on the body part being scanned, overall it can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 90 minutes. You do have to lay very still for an MRI and if there is movement the scan may need to be repeated which can add some additional time.

What’s included in my booking?

With your GetScanned booking, you will receive:

  • A pre-scan phone consultation with a member of our medical team.
  • A referral for the scan.
  • Scheduling of a private MRI scan at your preferred scanning centre.
  • Access to your written report by a radiologist.
  • Access to your scan images (online and downloadable).

How much is a private MRI scan?

A private MRI scan cost varies depending on the part of the body being scanned and the location the scan is performed. Generally, a private MRI scan in the UK starts at around £350, and includes the scheduling, scan itself and results.

What’s the difference between an open and closed MRI?

Closed MRI machines are the traditional and first type of MRI. They are used more frequently because they provide higher quality images, however they aren’t ideal for certain types of scan or when the patient has limited mobility. Open or wide-bore MRI machines don’t involve lying in a tight cylinder, instead they have wider openings with more space and are therefore considered better if you suffer from claustrophobia. A standing MRI or upright MRI is a new type of open MRI that allows the patient to be in various different positions, including weight bearing positions. If you would prefer an open MRI please filter by MRI type to find an open MRI near you, but please be aware it is only available at certain locations.

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