Fetal magnetic resonance imaging: indications, technique, anatomical considerations and a review of fetal abnormalities

Eur Radiol. 2002 Aug;12(8):1931-40. doi: 10.1007/s00330-002-1383-5. Epub 2002 Mar 19.


Fetal MR imaging often poses a diagnostic challenge for the radiologist. Both fetal anatomy and pathology differ decidedly from pediatric and adult MR imaging. While ultrasound remains the method of choice for screening examinations of the fetus, MR imaging is playing an increasingly important role in the detection and classification of malformations not diagnosable by ultrasonography alone. Recently, advances in fast single-shot MR sequences have allowed high-resolution, high-quality imaging of the moving fetus. Preferable sequences to be applied are a true fast imaging steady precession (true-FISP) or a half-Fourier acquired single-shot turbo spin-echo (HASTE) sequence. Premedication is generally no longer required. In all fetal MR imaging, every aspect of fetal anatomy has to be scrutinized. Subsequently, any abnormalities need to be described and classified. A close collaboration with the referring obstetrician is of paramount importance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / embryology
  • Brain / pathology
  • Central Nervous System / anatomy & histology
  • Central Nervous System / pathology
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Fetus / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Meningomyelocele / diagnosis
  • Placenta Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis*