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Prenat Diagn. 2002 Apr;22(4):321-30.

Sonography of fetal cerebrospinal anomalies.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Policlinico S. Orsola-Malpighi, Bologna, Italy.


Congenital anomalies of the central nervous system (CNS) are among the most frequent malformations. Current ultrasound equipment can give a precise diagnosis of many of these lesions from early gestation. High-resolution transvaginal probes play a major role both in allowing an early diagnosis and for better defining subtle details of both normal and abnormal cerebral anatomy. The diagnostic accuracy of prenatal ultrasound is, however, heavily dependent upon the expertise of the sonologist, the type of equipment employed, and the time dedicated to the scan. Fetal sonography is effective in identifying neural tube defects, although alpha-fetoprotein screening seems to give a greater sensitivity. The accuracy of ultrasound in the identification of CNS malformations other than neural tube defects remains unclear because of the ascertainment biases of the few large prospective studies that have been conducted to date.

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