Forearm (horizontal beam lateral view)

Andrew Murphy and Amanda Er et al.

The horizontal beam lateral forearm view is one of two modified trauma projections in the forearm series, examining the radius and ulna. 

This view is ideal for patients who are unable to move their arm as per the standard forearm positioning technique but require assessment of suspected radius and/or ulna dislocations or fractures. This shows a lateral view of the radius and AP view of the ulna.

  • patient is seated alongside the table
  • the medial border of the extended elbow and palmar aspect of the forearm are kept in contact with the detector (see Figure 2)
  • detector is medial to the forearm
  • lateral projection
  • centering point
    • mid forearm region
  • collimation
    • distal to the wrist joint 
    • proximal to elbow joint
  • orientation  
    • portrait
  • detector size
    • 24 cm x 30 cm
  • exposure
    • 50-60 kVp
    • 3-5 mAs
  • SID
    • 110 cm
  • grid
    • no
  • the elbow joint is in AP position with little to no superimposition
  • the wrist joint is in lateral position

Contrary to popular belief the lateral forearm should not be considered a view to evaluating any occult injuries of the wrist joint and or elbow due to beam divergence. Beam divergence at the edges of the image should be acknowledged when assessing anatomy (see Figure 1) 1.

Radiographic views

Article information

rID: 82247
Section: Radiography
Tag: refs, cases, refs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: divergent beam
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  • Figure 2: radiographic positioning
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  • Case 1: Monteggia fracture-dislocation
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  • Case 2: trans-scaphoid perilunate dislocation
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  • Case 3: combined Monteggia and Galeazzi fractures
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