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Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2001 Jun;96(2):173-8.

The role of magnetic resonance imaging in prenatal diagnosis of fetal anomalies.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital, Vrije Universiteit, P.O. Box 7057, 1007 MB Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Magnetic resonance imaging (MR) has become a useful adjuvant in evaluating fetal structural anomalies when ultrasound (US) is equivocal. It has a significant promise in confirming a US suspected abnormality and providing new information that was previously not available. The first studies on prenatal MR were hindered by fetal motion and long acquisition times. This degraded imaging and, therefore, maternal or fetal sedation was needed. Since fast and ultrafast MR with scan times of <1 s have become available, the amount of motion artifacts is decreased and sedation is no longer needed.MR has proved to be especially beneficial in detecting CNS anomalies. Agenesis of the corpus callosum, migration abnormalities and abnormalities of the posterior fossa are better seen on MR. Masses in the fetal neck and thorax can be identified on MR, as some abdominal anomalies. However, the fetal skeletal is difficult to visualize with MR. In the future, it is most likely that real time MR will become clinically available which would improve MR imaging even more.

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