Purpose: To quantify fetal cerebellar growth by measuring cerebellar volumes of normal fetuses throughout gestation with MRI.
Materials and methods: A total of 93 fetuses with normal brains ranging in age from 16 to 40 gestational weeks were included in the study. Standard fetal biometric measurements were made on a three-dimensional postprocessing workstation and included the head circumference, transverse cerebellar diameter, biparietal diameter, occipital-frontal diameter, as well as cerebellar volume. The gestational ages were estimated from fetal head circumference measurements. Regression analysis was used to find the best-fit model.
Results: There is a strong correlation describing cerebellar volume and gestational age in fetuses with normal central nervous systems. A second-order polynomial regression model was found to be the most appropriate descriptor of cerebellar volume in relation to normal fetal growth. In addition, the cerebellar volume was also found to correlate strongly with the common fetal biometric measurements of transverse cerebellar diameter, biparietal diameter, and occipital-frontal diameter.
Conclusion: Nomograms for fetal cerebellar volume with gestational age derived from head circumference measurements are presented for the first time with MRI. A normal fetal cerebellar volume growth chart is established. These results should prove helpful in defining situations of abnormal growth development and dysmorphology.
(c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.