Aim: To assess the ability of three-dimensional (3D) ultrasonography for improvement of antenatal detection of limb deformities.
Methods: 347 patients were selected from a routine outpatient clinic or sent for supervision from other units because of suspected anomalies of fetal extremities. 3D ultrasound devices used in the study were Combison 530D and Voluson 530D MT (Kretztechnik, Zipf, Austria) with a 3–5 MHz annular array transducer for three-dimensional volume scanning.
Results: In 41 of 347 patients the initial diagnosis was suspected by two-dimensional sonography (gestational age 18–32 weeks). In 28 of 41 suspected cases the diagnosis of abnormalities was determined after examination by 3D sonography: 17/28 clubfoot, 3/28 hand-polydactily, 2/28 upper limb contractures, 1/28 lower limb contractures, 4/28 micromelia within the syndrome of skeletal dysplasia. In 13 of 41 suspected cases, normal anatomy was confirmed using 3D sonography.
Conclusion: Three-dimensional sonography is the “method of choice” for the detection of an isolated defect of a single limb, developmental or positional deformations and minor defects of hands and feet. Surface-mode reconstruction of the complete limb and transparent-view reconstruction of the entire skeletal structure are effective technical advantages enabling a completely new visual perception of the unborn baby.
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