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Micro-focus X-ray computed tomography images of the 3D structure of the cranium of a fetus with asymmetric double malformation

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Reconstructed micro computed tomography (Micro-CT, µ-CT) images have revealed the detailed three-dimensional structure of the cranium of human fetal congenital anomalies for the first time. The objects were a head and a cervix of female autosite and a parasite consisting of only a head conjoined to the scapular region of the autosite of an asymmetric double malformation (asymmetric conjoined twins, heteropagus twinning) at a gestational age of 8 months. The cranium of the autosite was normal, but that of the parasite was characterized by otocephaly (agnathia, synotia, and monorhina) and almost all the cranial bones were of an abnormal shape. It is suggested that a part of occipital bone (the basioccipital and exoccipital bones), the vomer and cribriform plate were absent and this resulted in the fusion and overlapping of bilateral temporal and craniofacial bones that should have been adjacent to them. This resulted in a reformation and relocation of most of the cranial bones. Micro-CT is a useful tool to visualize the detailed bone structure which has not been clarified by the conventional dissection methods and other imaging technologies and is a powerful instrument for studying congenital anomalies.
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Keywords: autosite; cranium; double malformation; micro computed tomography; parasite

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2006

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