Pediatric Annals

CME Article 

Fetal Magnetic Resonance Imaging: The Basics

Hollie A. Jackson, MD; Ashok Panigrahy, MD

Abstract

Fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is becoming used more commonly in the prenatal diagnosis of fetal abnormalities. MRI is not the most common or even the first study a physician will order on a pregnant female. Ultrasonography remains the method of choice for prenatal workup. However, MRI can complement ultrasonography and improve the accuracy of diagnosing certain fetal abnormalities, which in turn can alter patient counseling and planning. At our hospital, patients are referred to the Institute of Maternal and Fetal Health (IMFH) by obstetricians and perinatologists when an abnormality is detected or suspected. The patient is examined and undergoes an additional ultrasound by one of our perinatologists. The IMFH perinatologist then requests a fetal MRI to evaluate those fetuses with certain known or suspected abnormalities that are at a gestational age greater than 18 weeks.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Hollie A. Jackson MD, and Ashok Panigrahy, MD, are Assistant Professors with Department of Radiology, Institute for Maternal Fetal Health, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Address correspondence to: Hollie A Jackson MD, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Department of Radiology, Mail Stop #81, 4650 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90027, or e-mail hjackson@chla.usc.edu.

Dr. Jackson and Dr. Panigrahy have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Acknowledgment: The authors thank Dr. David Miller for providing the prenatal ultrasound pictures.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

  1. Define the indications for fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  2. Determine the efficacy and safety of fetal MRI.
  3. Cite the different abnormalities that can be successfully imaged by fetal MRI.

Abstract

Fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is becoming used more commonly in the prenatal diagnosis of fetal abnormalities. MRI is not the most common or even the first study a physician will order on a pregnant female. Ultrasonography remains the method of choice for prenatal workup. However, MRI can complement ultrasonography and improve the accuracy of diagnosing certain fetal abnormalities, which in turn can alter patient counseling and planning. At our hospital, patients are referred to the Institute of Maternal and Fetal Health (IMFH) by obstetricians and perinatologists when an abnormality is detected or suspected. The patient is examined and undergoes an additional ultrasound by one of our perinatologists. The IMFH perinatologist then requests a fetal MRI to evaluate those fetuses with certain known or suspected abnormalities that are at a gestational age greater than 18 weeks.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Hollie A. Jackson MD, and Ashok Panigrahy, MD, are Assistant Professors with Department of Radiology, Institute for Maternal Fetal Health, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Address correspondence to: Hollie A Jackson MD, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Department of Radiology, Mail Stop #81, 4650 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90027, or e-mail hjackson@chla.usc.edu.

Dr. Jackson and Dr. Panigrahy have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Acknowledgment: The authors thank Dr. David Miller for providing the prenatal ultrasound pictures.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

  1. Define the indications for fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  2. Determine the efficacy and safety of fetal MRI.
  3. Cite the different abnormalities that can be successfully imaged by fetal MRI.

Fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is becoming used more commonly in the prenatal diagnosis of fetal abnormalities. MRI is not the most common or even the first study a physician will order on a pregnant female. Ultrasonography remains the method of choice for prenatal workup. However, MRI can complement ultrasonography and improve the accuracy of diagnosing certain fetal abnormalities, which in turn can alter patient counseling and planning. At our hospital, patients are referred to the Institute of Maternal and Fetal Health (IMFH) by obstetricians and perinatologists when an abnormality is detected or suspected. The patient is examined and undergoes an additional ultrasound by one of our perinatologists. The IMFH perinatologist then requests a fetal MRI to evaluate those fetuses with certain known or suspected abnormalities that are at a gestational age greater than 18 weeks.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Hollie A. Jackson MD, and Ashok Panigrahy, MD, are Assistant Professors with Department of Radiology, Institute for Maternal Fetal Health, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Address correspondence to: Hollie A Jackson MD, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Department of Radiology, Mail Stop #81, 4650 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90027, or e-mail hjackson@chla.usc.edu.

Dr. Jackson and Dr. Panigrahy have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Acknowledgment: The authors thank Dr. David Miller for providing the prenatal ultrasound pictures.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

  1. Define the indications for fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  2. Determine the efficacy and safety of fetal MRI.
  3. Cite the different abnormalities that can be successfully imaged by fetal MRI.

10.3928/00904481-20080601-08

Sign up to receive

Journal E-contents