Introduction: The aim of our study was to investigate the role of fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a complement to ultrasound (US) in the evaluation of craniofacial malformations and cleft lip and palate (CLP), whether isolated or in association with syndromic conditions.
Materials and methods: During the period 2008–2011 we retrospectively reviewed clinical, radiographic and photographic documentation of pregnant women with ultrasonic and MRI fetal diagnosis of craniomaxillofacial malformation. For each fetus, the main anatomical facial landmarks and biometric parameters [anteroposterior diameter (APD), biparietal diameter (BPD), inferior facial angle (IFA), frontomaxillary angle (FMA), bi-orbital diameter (BOD), intraorbital diameter (IOD)] were measured.
Results: The MRI analysis confirmed the majority of ultrasound diagnosis of fetuses and added more detailed information regarding the type and extension of craniofacial malformation, about the extent of the cleft and the degree of involvement of the anterior and posterior palate. Moreover MRI images allow to detect other associated internal malformations like cardiac and of the kidney.
Conclusions: MRI provides a complete study of the fetal head and biometric development of the facial bones, thus enabling early detection of potential syndromic conditions. With more accurate diagnosis of the severity of the malformation, we can counsel patients more precisely and plan postnatal management correctly.
Conflict of interest: None declared.