Three-dimensional ultrasound in evaluation of fetal brain anomalies


Background and objective: Prenatal diagnosis of central nervous system anomalies by two-dimensional sonography is challenging because of difficulties in obtaining complete visualization of the fetal brain during routine examinations. Three-dimensional sonography has been introduced as a tool for studying the fetal central nervous system because of its ability to facilitate examinations of the fetal brain. This study aimed to visualize an intracranial structure of the fetal central nervous system anomaly using transabdominal three-dimensional sonography.Methods: A prospective cross–sectional (observational) study in which three-dimensional ultrasound examination was performed in 82 patients between 12 and 38 weeks of gestation suspected to have fetal brain malformation detected by conventional two-dimensional ultrasound. Each anomaly was reviewed again to determine whether three-dimensional ultrasound data were advantageous compared to two-dimensional ultrasound. Results: Three-dimensional images provided additional information in 43 (52.4%) of cases including extracerebral anomalies. The three-dimensional ultrasound was advantageous in evaluating the encephaloceles (10 of 43 cases) in that the exact location of the extracranial mass and the amount of extracranial tissue in the encephalocele was better defined with the simultaneous display of three orthogonal planes images that could not be obtained with two-dimensional ultrasound were seen with three-dimensional ultrasound.Conclusion: Three-dimensional ultrasound is an excellent adjunctive tool to two-dimensional ultrasound in the evaluation of fetal anomalies