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Evaluation of the fetal abdomen by magnetic resonance imaging. Part 1: malformations of the abdominal cavity

posted on 30.05.2018, 02:46 by Ana Paula Pinho Matos, Luciana de Barros Duarte, Pedro Teixeira Castro, Pedro Daltro, Heron Werner Júnior, Edward Araujo Júnior

Abstract Although ultrasound continues to be the mainstay modality for the evaluation of fetal disorders, fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has often been used as a valuable adjunct in recent years. The exponential growth of the use of fetal MRI has been facilitated by technological advancements such as ultrafast T2-weighted sequences and diffusion-weighted imaging. Fetal MRI can achieve results that are comparable to or better than those of ultrasound, particularly in cases of maternal obesity, severe oligohydramnios, or abnormal fetal position. Because of its superior soft tissue contrast, wide field of view, and multiplanar imaging, fetal MRI is able to evaluate the large fetal organs, such as the lungs, liver, bowel, and kidneys. In addition, fetal MRI allows large or complex malformations to be examined, facilitating the understanding of the malformation within the context of the body as a whole. Initial fetal MRI studies were focused on the central nervous system. With advances in software and hardware, fetal MRI gained importance in the evaluation of the fetal abdomen. The purpose of this article is to review the recent literature and developments in MRI evaluation of the fetal abdomen, with an emphasis on imaging aspects, protocols, and common clinical indications.