3D evaluation of fetal brain structures: reference values and growth curves

3D evaluation of fetal brain structures: reference values and growth curves

Background: The development of the fetal central nervous system is one of the most important fields of research in perinatology. Since the early 1980s, 3D ultrasound has become one of the major research tools in obstetrics and gynecology.
Objective: The aim of this study was to reconstruct thalamus, cerebellum and Cortex volumes of fetal brain and generate, for these volumes, growth curves related to gestational age.
Methods: We enrolled 344 pregnant women. Using “Tomographic Ultrasound Imaging” (TUI), in all cases we obtained a satisfying 3D acquisition of fetal brain. We reconstructed offline thalamus, cerebellum and cortex volumes using “Virtual Organ Computer-Aided AnaLysis” (VOCAL) or 4D View (GE Healthcare).
Results: Among the 344 fetuses examined, we obtained 314 thalamus volumes, 252 cerebellum volumes and 261 cortex volumes and we constructed the reference growth curves.
Conclusion: Our study confirms the reliability of cerebral volumes evaluation using 3D technology and how these cerebral structures grow through gestation.