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Development of the human fetal pons: in utero ultrasonographic study

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Abstract:

Objectives

To examine the ultrasonographic feasibility of imaging the fetal pons and to construct a reference chart for its normal development during gestation.

Methods

A cross‐sectional, prospective study on 293 healthy fetuses of low‐risk pregnancies between 19 and 34 weeks was performed. The transfontanel approach, via the abdominal or vaginal routes, was used to evaluate the fetal metencephalon (pons and cerebellum). The anteroposterior diameter of the fetal pons was measured in a mid‐sagittal plane. The longitudinal diameter of the cerebellar vermis was measured at the same plane and the vermis–pons ratio (VPR) was established.

Results

One hundred and forty‐four fetuses were in vertex position. In 140 (97.2%) satisfactory visualization and measurements of the pons and cerebellar vermis were obtained. One hundred and forty‐nine fetuses were breech presentations and measurements were successfully performed in 147 (98.6%). The pons anteroposterior and vermis longitudinal diameters showed a linear correlation with gestational age (GA) (r = 0.95 for both measurements; P < 0.001). The mean VPR was 1.5 (±0.1 SD) and did not change in the gestational interval that was considered.

Conclusion

By using the transfontanel approach, evaluation of the fetal pons is feasible via the mid‐sagittal plane. The nomograms developed and the ratio to fetal vermis provides reference data that may be helpful when evaluating anomalies of the brainstem. Copyright © 2004 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Keywords: brain mid‐sagittal view; cerebellar vermis; fetal pons; ultrasound

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/uog.1731

Affiliations: 1: Ultrasound Unit, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer and Sackler School of Medicine, Israel 2: Maccabi Health Services, Ultrasound Unit, Beer Sheva, Israel 3: Lis Maternity Hospital, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

Publication date: October 1, 2004

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