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Elbow MRI Scan from £199

MRI scan for the elbow is useful for identifying problems with tendons and ligaments,
as well as compression and nerve entrapment issues and osteoarthritis in the bone.

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Introduction to Elbow Pain

Elbow pain is a frequent issue that affects individuals of all ages and backgrounds, particularly those involved in sports, repetitive manual labor, or even routine office work. This pain can result from various causes, ranging from acute injuries like fractures and dislocations to chronic conditions such as arthritis and tendinitis.

Understanding Elbow Pain

Elbow pain can manifest in several ways, depending on the underlying cause. It may present as a sharp pain during specific movements, a constant ache, or a feeling of stiffness in the elbow joint. Understanding the specific symptoms and their triggers is crucial in diagnosing the root cause of the pain.

Common Causes of Elbow Pain

  • Fractures and Dislocations: These can occur from falls, direct impacts, or accidents during physical activities.
  • Tendonitis: Often affecting those who perform repetitive tasks; tennis elbow and golfer's elbow are prime examples.
  • Osteoarthritis: Common in older adults, this is due to wear and tear of the joint.
  • Bursitis: Inflammation of the bursa caused by repeated pressure or injury.
  • Nerve Entrapment: Such as cubital tunnel syndrome, where the ulnar nerve is compressed.

Role of MRI in Diagnosing Elbow Pain

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a sophisticated diagnostic tool that excels in visualizing soft tissue structures around the elbow. By using a powerful magnetic field and radio waves, MRI scans produce detailed images that help in identifying the exact cause of elbow pain.

What an MRI Scan Reveals

An MRI scan of the elbow can detect:

  • Soft Tissue Injuries: Detailed views of ligaments, tendons, and muscles to identify tears or strains.
  • Bone Abnormalities: Subtle fractures or bone bruises that might not be visible on X-rays.
  • Joint Conditions: Such as arthritis, showing cartilage wear and joint space changes.
  • Nerve Abnormalities: MRI can pinpoint areas where nerves are compressed or damaged.
  • Inflammatory Conditions: Signs of inflammation or fluid buildup in the elbow joint.

The MRI Procedure Explained

During an MRI scan, the patient will lie on a sliding table that moves into a tunnel-shaped scanner. It is imperative to remain still throughout the scan to ensure clear, usable images. The procedure is painless and does not involve radiation, making it a safe choice for most people.

Preparing for an MRI Scan

Preparation for an MRI scan involves:

  • Metallic Objects: All metallic objects, including jewelry and watches, must be removed because they can interfere with the magnetic field.
  • Medical and Surgical History: Inform the technician if you have any implants, such as pacemakers or metal screws from previous surgeries.
  • Clothing: Patients may be asked to wear a hospital gown to avoid interference from zippers and snaps.

Duration and Safety of MRI Scans

Typically, an MRI scan takes about 30 to 60 minutes. MRI is very safe; however, it’s crucial to notify the medical staff of any implants or conditions that could interact with the MRI's magnetic field.

Detailed Diagnosis with MRI

MRI scans provide comprehensive information that helps physicians develop an effective treatment plan. By identifying the exact nature and extent of the injury, treatment can be more precisely targeted, which can include:

  • Physical Therapy: Custom exercises to restore mobility and strengthen the muscles around the elbow.
  • Medication: Anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Surgical Intervention: In cases of severe damage that cannot be managed conservatively.

Cost and Accessibility of MRI Scans in the UK

In the UK, the cost of an MRI scan can vary depending on the facility and the specific requirements of the scan. Private MRI scans offer a quicker alternative to NHS services, which can have lengthy wait times.

The Importance of Early Diagnosis

Prompt diagnosis of elbow pain is crucial for effective treatment and recovery. An early and accurate diagnosis via MRI can prevent further damage and help maintain elbow function and quality of life.


Elbow pain, while common, should not be overlooked. An MRI scan provides a non-invasive, detailed view of the elbow's internal structures, crucial for diagnosing the root cause of pain and planning the appropriate treatment. If you are experiencing persistent elbow pain, consider consulting with a healthcare provider about the potential benefits of an MRI scan.

This expanded guide offers a thorough overview of elbow pain and the critical role of MRI scans in its diagnosis and management, tailored for a British audience seeking comprehensive healthcare information.


Our expert clinical team will guide you through the process, with a 1-1 consultation, referral, and digital imaging report included in the price of your scan booking.