Journal of the European Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy


Imaging the fetal central nervous system

Bart De Keersmaecker1,2, Filip Claus3, Luc De catte1

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Fetal Medicine Unit, University Hospital Leuven, Belgium 
2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, AZ Groeninge, Kortrijk, Belgium 
3 Department of Radiology, University Hospital Leuven, Belgium

Correspondence at: luc De catte, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, university Hospital leuven, Herestraat 49, 3000 leuven, belgium. e-mail:; Tel.: +32 16 34 84 38; Fax: +32 34 42 05


Central nervous system, fetal imaging, prenatal MRI, brain malformation

Published online: Oct 05 2011


The low prevalence of fetal central nervous system anomalies results in a restricted level of exposure and limited experience for most of the obstetricians involved in prenatal ultrasound. Sonographic guidelines for screening the fetal brain in a systematic way will probably increase the detection rate and enhance a correct referral to a tertiary care center, offering the patient a multidisciplinary approach of the condition. This paper aims to elaborate on prenatal sonographic and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) diagnosis and outcome of various central nervous system malformations. Detailed neurosonographic investigation has become available through high resolution vaginal ultrasound probes and the development of a variety of 3D ultrasound modalities e.g. ultrasound tomographic imaging. In addition, fetal MRI is particularly helpful in the detection of gyration and neurulation anomalies and disorders of the gray and white matter.