Fetal magnetic resonance imaging: supratentorial brain malformations

Pediatr Radiol. 2020 Dec;50(13):1934-1947. doi: 10.1007/s00247-020-04696-z. Epub 2020 Nov 30.


Fetal MRI is the modality of choice to study supratentorial brain malformations. To accurately interpret the MRI, the radiologist needs to understand the normal sequence of events that occurs during prenatal brain development; this includes familiarity with the processes of hemispheric cleavage, formation of interhemispheric commissures, neuro-glial proliferation and migration, and cortical folding. Disruption of these processes results in malformations observed on fetal MRI including holoprosencephaly, callosal agenesis, heterotopic gray matter, lissencephaly and other malformations of cortical development (focal cortical dysplasia, polymicrogyria). The radiologist should also be familiar with findings that have high association with specific conditions affecting the central nervous system or other organ systems. This review summarizes and illustrates common patterns of supratentorial brain malformations and emphasizes aspects that are important to patient care.

Keywords: Brain; Cerebrum; Congenital; Fetus; Magnetic resonance imaging; Malformation; Supratentorial.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Fetus
  • Gray Matter
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Malformations of Cortical Development* / diagnostic imaging
  • Nervous System Malformations* / diagnostic imaging
  • Pregnancy