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Eur J Radiol. 2006 Feb;57(2):182-6. Epub 2006 Jan 18.

A new look at the fetus: thick-slab T2-weighted sequences in fetal MRI.

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  • 1Center of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Integrative Morphology Group, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria. peter.brugger@meduniwien.ac.at

Abstract

Although magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the fetus is considered an established adjunct to fetal ultrasound, stacks of images alone cannot provide an overall impression of the fetus. The present study evaluates the use of thick-slab T2-weighted MR images to obtain a three-dimensional impression of the fetus using MRI. A thick-slab T2-weighted sequence was added to the routine protocol in 100 fetal MRIs obtained for various indications (19th to 37th gestational weeks) on a 1.5 T magnet using a five-element phased-array surface coil. Slice thickness adapted to fetal size and uterine geometry varied between 25 and 50mm, as did the field of view (250-350 mm). Acquisition of one image took less than 1s. The pictorial essay shows that these images visualize fetal anatomy in a more comprehensive way than is possible with a series of 3-4mm thick slices. These thick-slab images facilitate the assessment of the whole fetus, fetal proportions, surface structures, and extremities. Fetal pathology may be captured in one image. Thick-slab T2-weighted images provide additional information that cannot be gathered from a series of images and are considered a valuable adjunct to conventional 2D MR images.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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