Magnetic resonance imaging of the fetal brain

Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Apr;21(2):180-6. doi: 10.1097/GCO.0b013e32832947ab.


Purpose of review: Fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a relatively new clinical application but is becoming increasingly used in fetal medicine in combination with the established technique of antenatal ultrasound. A review of the literature to date provides information for clinicians to help assess which patients they should be referring for fetal MRI and what additional information to ultrasound they can obtain.

Recent findings: This review covers recent articles on practical aspects of imaging, MR findings in common disorders and comparisons with ultrasound. It includes information on current applications for fetal MRI, new sequence acquisitions and postprocessing techniques. Fetal motion is the single most important barrier to improving image data.

Summary: Fetal MR has become an established tool for assessing the fetal brain. It provides complementary information to ultrasound. However, further optimization of this technique is still required to ensure it is exploited to the full in fetal medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / embryology*
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Obstetrics / methods*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / methods
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / methods*