Send to

Choose Destination
Fetal Diagn Ther. 2013;34(1):44-9. doi: 10.1159/000350269. Epub 2013 Apr 20.

Reassessment of the normal fetal cisterna magna during gestation and an alternative approach to the definition of cisterna magna dilatation.

Author information

Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.



Cisterna magna (CM) measurement constitutes part of the sonographic assessment of the posterior fossa. CM enlargement (ECM) is defined as a measurement exceeding 10 mm, although it has previously been noted that the CM varies in size with gestation. Existing data do not appear to reflect observations regarding CM biometry within our population and this study was therefore undertaken in order to re-evaluate CM biometry.


Data from 4,750 normal pregnancies between 15 and 32 weeks of gestation were collected and used to construct a reference range for the CM.


Regression analysis was used to model CM across gestational age and thereby define the upper limits for normal CM measurements across gestation. The CM increases with gestation. These data suggest that a 10-mm cut-off underestimates ECM, notably in the gestational age period below 24 weeks, whilst overestimating isolated ECM beyond this. Differences in CM measurements between genders were confirmed (p < 0.0001).


Defining ECM based upon a cut-off of 10 mm across all gestations may be inappropriate given the variation observed with gestational age. More accurate identification of fetuses with, in particular, isolated ECM may facilitate more precise evaluation of the clinical significance of this finding.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for S. Karger AG, Basel, Switzerland
Loading ...
Support Center