Deep learning–based segmentation of whole-body fetal MRI and fetal weight estimation: assessing performance, repeatability, and reproducibility

Bella Specktor-Fadida*, Daphna Link-Sourani, Aviad Rabinowich, Elka Miller, Anna Levchakov, Netanell Avisdris, Liat Ben-Sira, Liran Hiersch, Leo Joskowicz, Dafna Ben-Bashat*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To develop a deep-learning method for whole-body fetal segmentation based on MRI; to assess the method's repeatability, reproducibility, and accuracy; to create an MRI-based normal fetal weight growth chart; and to assess the sensitivity to detect fetuses with growth restriction (FGR).

METHODS: Retrospective data of 348 fetuses with gestational age (GA) of 19-39 weeks were included: 249 normal appropriate for GA (AGA), 19 FGR, and 80 Other (having various imaging abnormalities). A fetal whole-body segmentation model with a quality estimation module was developed and evaluated in 169 cases. The method was evaluated for its repeatability (repeated scans within the same scanner, n = 22), reproducibility (different scanners, n = 6), and accuracy (compared with birth weight, n = 7). A normal MRI-based growth chart was derived.

RESULTS: The method achieved a Dice = 0.973, absolute volume difference ratio (VDR) = 1.8% and VDR mean difference = 0.75% ([Formula: see text]: - 3.95%, 5.46), and high agreement with the gold standard. The method achieved a repeatability coefficient = 4.01%, ICC = 0.99, high reproducibility with a mean difference = 2.21% ([Formula: see text]: - 1.92%, 6.35%), and high accuracy with a mean difference between estimated fetal weight (EFW) and birth weight of - 0.39% ([Formula: see text]: - 8.23%, 7.45%). A normal growth chart (n = 246) was consistent with four ultrasound charts. EFW based on MRI correctly predicted birth-weight percentiles for all 18 fetuses ≤ 10 thpercentile and for 14 out of 17 FGR fetuses below the 3 rd percentile. Six fetuses referred to MRI as AGA were found to be < 3rd percentile.

CONCLUSIONS: The proposed method for automatic MRI-based EFW demonstrated high performance and sensitivity to identify FGR fetuses.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE STATEMENT: Results from this study support the use of the automatic fetal weight estimation method based on MRI for the assessment of fetal development and to detect fetuses at risk for growth restriction.

KEY POINTS: • An AI-based segmentation method with a quality assessment module for fetal weight estimation based on MRI was developed, achieving high repeatability, reproducibility, and accuracy. • An MRI-based fetal weight growth chart constructed from a large cohort of normal and appropriate gestational-age fetuses is proposed. • The method showed a high sensitivity for the diagnosis of small fetuses suspected of growth restriction.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2072-2083
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Radiology
Issue number3
Early online date2 Sep 2023
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to European Society of Radiology.


  • Deep learning
  • Fetal growth restriction
  • Fetal weight
  • Growth chart
  • Magnetic resonance imaging


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