Aim: The purpose of this paper is to review and analyze the published literature on the use of three-dimensional (3DUS) and four-dimensional (4DUS) ultrasound in perinatal medicine.
Methods: We systematically searched Medline through PubMED (January 2000–January 2006), including EMBASE/Excerpta Medica database as well as the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. The search terms used to identify clinical application of 3DUS and 4DUS studies in perinatal medicine were technical development, special features, and recommendation for fetal imaging, research on 3DUS or 4DUS, and the usage of invasive 3DUS or 4DUS procedures. The reference bibliographies of relevant books were also manually searched for supplementary citations. Inclusion criteria were as follows: (1) studies related to the use of 3DUS or 4DUS in perinatal medicine; (2) full text were available in English; (3) publication format of original scientific articles, case reports, editorials or literature reviews and chapters in the books.
Results: Five hundred and seventy-five articles were identified, and among those, 438 were relevant to this review.
Conclusions: 3DUS and 4DUS provided additional information for the diagnosis of facial anomalies, evaluation of neural tube defects, and skeletal malformations. Additional research is needed to determine the clinical utility of 3DUS and 4DUS for the diagnosis of congenital heart disease, central nervous system (CNS) anomalies and detection of fetal neurodevelopmental impairment assessed by abnormal behavior in high-risk fetuses.