MRI and ultrasound fusion imaging for prenatal diagnosis

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Aug;209(2):148.e1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2013.05.031. Epub 2013 May 16.


Objective: A combination of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) images with real time high-resolution ultrasound known as fusion imaging may improve prenatal examination. This study was undertaken to evaluate the feasibility of using fusion of MRI and ultrasound (US) in prenatal imaging.

Study design: This study was conducted in a tertiary referral center. All patients referred for prenatal MRI were offered to undergo fusion of MRI and US examination. All cases underwent 1.5 Tesla MRI protocol including at least 3 T2-weighted planes. The Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine volume dataset was then loaded into the US system for manual registration of the live US image and fusion imaging examination.

Results: Over the study period, 24 patients underwent fusion imaging at a median gestational age of 31 (range, 24-35) weeks. Data registration, matching and then volume navigation was feasible in all cases. Fusion imaging allowed superimposing MRI and US images therefore providing with real time imaging capabilities and high tissue contrast. It also allowed adding a real time Doppler signal on MRI images. Significant fetal movement required repeat-registration in 15 (60%) cases. The average duration of the overall additional scan with fusion imaging was 10 ± 5 minutes.

Conclusion: The combination of fetal real time MRI and US image fusion and navigation is feasible. Multimodality fusion imaging may enable easier and more extensive prenatal diagnosis.

Keywords: congenital anomalies; matching; prenatal diagnosis; registration.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / methods*