Corpus callosum-fastigium and tectal lengths in late-onset small fetuses

Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2023 Aug;62(2):226-233. doi: 10.1002/uog.26169.


Objective: To investigate measurements on neurosonography of midbrain morphology, including corpus callosum-fastigium length and tectal length, in late-onset small fetuses subclassified as small-for-gestational-age (SGA) or growth-restricted (FGR).

Methods: This was a case-control study of consecutive singleton pregnancies delivered at term at a single center between January 2019 and July 2021, including those with late-onset smallness (estimated fetal weight (EFW) < 10th centile) and appropriate-for-gestational-age controls matched by age at neurosonography. Small fetuses were further subdivided into SGA (EFW between 3rd and 9th centile and normal fetoplacental Doppler) and FGR (EFW < 3rd centile or EFW < 10th centile with abnormal cerebroplacental ratio and/or uterine artery Doppler). Transvaginal neurosonography was performed at a mean ± SD gestational age of 33 ± 1 weeks in all fetuses to evaluate corpus callosum-fastigium length and tectal length in the midsagittal plane. Intra- and interobserver agreement was evaluated using the intraclass correlation coefficient and Bland-Altman plots.

Results: A total of 70 fetuses with late-onset smallness (29 with SGA and 41 with FGR) and 70 controls were included. Compared with controls, small fetuses showed significantly shorter corpus callosum-fastigium length (median (interquartile range), 44.7 (43.3-46.8) mm vs 43.7 (42.4-45.5) mm, P < 0.001) and tectal length (mean ± SD, 10.5 ± 0.9 vs 9.6 ± 1.0 mm, P < 0.001). These changes were more prominent in FGR fetuses, with a linear trend across groups according to severity of smallness. Corpus callosum-fastigium length and tectal length measurements showed excellent intra- and interobserver reliability.

Conclusions: Small fetuses exhibited shorter corpus callosum-fastigium length and tectal length compared with controls, and these differences were more pronounced in fetuses with more severe smallness. These findings illustrate the potential value of midbrain measurements assessed on neurosonography as biomarkers for brain development in a high-risk population. However, further studies correlating these parameters with postnatal functional tests and follow-up are needed. © 2023 International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Keywords: FGR; SGA; corpus callosum; fastigium; fetal growth restriction; intrauterine growth restriction; midbrain; neurosonography; small-for-gestational age; tectal length.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Corpus Callosum* / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / diagnostic imaging
  • Fetal Weight
  • Fetus
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal*