Magnetic resonance imaging as a prenatal diagnostic tool supplementary to ultrasound in diagnosing fetal and gestational abnormalities

Shay Porat*, Ronit Agid, Uriel Elchalal, Yossi Ezra, J. Moshe Gomori, Michelle Nadjari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) as a prenatal and gestational imaging modality supplementary to ultrasound has become widespread with the advent of rapid MR sequences in the last few years. These sequences allow acquisition of high-resolution images of the fetus in a single breath-holding period of the mother, with minimal fetal motion artifacts. We describe our experience with this modality in the diagnosis of prenatal and gestational abnormalities. The study population consisted of 39 pregnant women who had a total of 40 MRI examinations from 7/1998 to 7/2000. The indication for all examinations was a suspected fetal or gestational abnormality as suggested by ultrasound scan, laboratory tests or by family history. In 31 cases (77.5%) a correlation was found between the ultrasound findings and the MR imaging, of which in 6 cases (15%) the MRI added new valuable information. In 9 cases (22.5%) the MRI ruled out findings suspected by ultrasound. The prenatal findings were compared with postnatal clinical follow-up, imaging or pathology report in 26 cases (66.6%). In two cases the clinical outcome and postnatal imaging were discordant with the prenatal imaging findings in ultrasound and MRI. Although not proven, MRI is considered safe during pregnancy because it does not use ionizing radiation. It depicts fetal anatomy and pathology well. Also uterine, placental and other maternal structures are well demonstrated. This tool is useful in cases in which there is a suspicion of a malformed fetus or abnormal placenta by an ultrasound examination or in cases in which an ultrasound examination is limited by technical factors. MRI was found to help parents and doctors decide about the fate of a suspected abnormal pregnancy by adding valuable information supplemental to ultrasound examination.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)329-334, 412, 411
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2002
Externally publishedYes


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