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Obstet Gynecol. 1989 Jun;73(6):952-6.

Magnetic resonance imaging of anomalous fetuses.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospitals, Iowa City, Iowa.


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been used sparingly in obstetrics. The reasons for this relate mainly to cost, availability, difficulty obtaining clear images because of fetal movement, and the convenience and utility of ultrasound. However, MRI use is expanding and has the potential to play an important role in selected problem pregnancies. We studied the pregnancies of five women whose fetuses showed anomalies by ultrasound. These included cases of a large body wall defect, a diaphragmatic hernia, hydrocephalus, Meckel-Gruber syndrome, and iniencephaly with a diaphragmatic hernia (the iniencephaly sequence). Three of these examinations followed fetal neuromuscular blockade, and two were associated with oligohydramnios without fetal paralysis. Paralysis provided superior images. The fetal central nervous system, subcutaneous tissue, and liver imaged particularly well. This study illustrates that MRI can enhance and even clarify certain information provided by ultrasound.

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