Fetal magnetic resonance imaging in obstetric practice


  • Aydın Kösus
  • Nermin Kösus
  • Betül Usluoğulları
  • Müzeyyen Duran
  • Nilgün Öztürk Turhan
  • Mehmet Teksam

Received Date: 03.08.2010 Accepted Date: 18.02.2011 J Turk Ger Gynecol Assoc 2011;12(1):39-46 PMID: 24591956

Ultrasonography (USG) is the primary imaging method for prenatal diagnosis of fetal abnormalities since its discovery. Although it is the primary method of fetal imaging, it cannot provide sufficient information about the fetus in some conditions such as maternal obesity, oligohydramnios and engagement of the fetal head. At this stage, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) facilitates examination by providing more specific information. The need and importance of fetal MRI applications further increased by the intrauterine surgery which is currently gaining popularity. Some advantages of fetal MRI over USG are the good texture of contrast, a greater study area and visualization of the lesion and neighbourhood relations, independence of the operators. Also it is not affected by maternal obesity and severe oligohydramnios. However, MRI is inadequate in detecting fetal limb and cardiac abnormalities when compared to USG. MRI is not used routinely in pregnancy. It is used in situations where nonionizing imaging methods are inadequate or ionizing radiation is required in pregnant women. It is not recommended during the first trimester. Contrast agent (Godalinium) is not used during pregnancy. It is believed that MRI is not harmful to the fetus, although the biological risk of MRI application is not known. MRI technique is superior to USG in the detection of corpus callosum dysgenesis, third-trimester evaluation of posterior fossa malformations, bilateral renal agenesis, diaphragmatic hernia and assessment of lung maturation. Especially, it is the method of choice for evaluation of central nervous system (CNS) abnormalities. Fetal MRI has a complementary role with USG. It provides important information for prenatal diagnosis, increases diagnostic accuracy, and in turn affects the prenatal treatment, prenatal interventions and birth plan.

Keywords: Fetal magnetic resonance imaging, fetal ultrasonography