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Normative biometry of the fetal brain using magnetic resonance imaging.

Journal article
Authors Vanessa Kyriakopoulou
Deniz Vatansever
Alice Davidson
Prachi Patkee
Samia Elkommos
Andrew Chew
Miriam Martinez-Biarge
Bibbi Hagberg
Mellisa Damodaram
Joanna Allsop
Matt Fox
Joseph V Hajnal
Mary A Rutherford
Published in Brain structure & function
Volume 222
Issue 5
Pages 2295-2307
ISSN 1863-2661
Publication year 2017
Published at Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre
Pages 2295-2307
Language en
Keywords Brain development; Centiles; Magnetic resonance imaging
Subject categories Psychiatry


The fetal brain shows accelerated growth in the latter half of gestation, and these changes can be captured by 2D and 3D biometry measurements. The aim of this study was to quantify brain growth in normal fetuses using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and to produce reference biometry data and a freely available centile calculator ( ). A total of 127 MRI examinations (1.5 T) of fetuses with a normal brain appearance (21-38 gestational weeks) were included in this study. 2D and 3D biometric parameters were measured from slice-to-volume reconstructed images, including 3D measurements of supratentorial brain tissue, lateral ventricles, cortex, cerebellum and extra-cerebral CSF and 2D measurements of brain biparietal diameter and fronto-occipital length, skull biparietal diameter and occipitofrontal diameter, head circumference, transverse cerebellar diameter, extra-cerebral CSF, ventricular atrial diameter, and vermis height, width, and area. Centiles were constructed for each measurement. All participants were invited for developmental follow-up. All 2D and 3D measurements, except for atrial diameter, showed a significant positive correlation with gestational age. There was a sex effect on left and total lateral ventricular volumes and the degree of ventricular asymmetry. The 5th, 50th, and 95th centiles and a centile calculator were produced. Developmental follow-up was available for 73.1% of cases [mean chronological age 27.4 (±10.2) months]. We present normative reference charts for fetal brain MRI biometry at 21-38 gestational weeks. Developing growth trajectories will aid in the better understanding of normal fetal brain growth and subsequently of deviations from typical development in high-risk pregnancies or following premature delivery.

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