Background: Clinical use of 3D CT for fetal skeletal malformations is controversial.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of fetal 3D CT using three protocols with different radiation doses and through comparing findings between fetal CT and conventional postnatal radiographic skeletal survey.
Materials and methods: Seventeen fetuses underwent CT for suspected skeletal dysplasia. A relay of three CT protocols with stepwise dose-reduction were used over the study period. The concordance between the CT diagnosis and the final diagnosis was assessed. Ninety-three radiological findings identifiable on radiographs were compared with CT.
Results: Fetal CT provided the correct diagnosis in all 17 fetuses, the detectability rate of cardinal findings was 93.5 %. In 59 % of the fetuses an US-based diagnosis was changed prenatally due to CT findings. The estimated fetal radiation dose in the final protocol was 3.4 mSv (50 %) of the initial protocol, and this dose reduction did not result in degraded image quality.
Conclusion: The capability of fetal CT to delineate the skeleton was almost the same as that of postnatal skeletal survey. The perinatal management was altered due to these more specific CT findings, which aided in counseling and in the management of the pregnancy.