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Educational Use Only - Embryology is an educational resource for learning concepts in embryological development, no clinical information is provided and content should not be used for any other purpose.


X-ray showing congenital hip dislocation in the newborn infant.

There are a number of different neonatal screening (newborn screening) programs in different countries testing for various "common" congenital abnormalities and infections. Perinatally the infant is tested physically for hip displasia and may have an x-ray to establish the extent of musculoskeletal abnormality. There are also a number of other systems (renal, cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, endocrine and genital) that can be assessed postnatally by x-ray alone or in combination with tracers or contrast agents.

Radiation is a known teratogen and can affect development, but there is ongoing discussion as to the associated fetal risk and that to maternal health of a range of conditions that are detected or analysed using x-radiation.[1]

Neonatal Diagnosis: APGAR test | Guthrie test | Hearing test | Electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) | X-ray | Tandem mass spectrometry | Classification of Diseases

Diagnosis Links: Prenatal Diagnosis | Pregnancy Test | Amniocentesis | Chorionic villus sampling | Ultrasound | Alpha-Fetoprotein | Pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A | Fetal Blood Sampling | Magnetic Resonance Imaging | Computed Tomography | Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing | Fetal Cells in Maternal Blood | Preimplantation Genetic Screening | Comparative Genomic Hybridization | Genome Sequencing | Neonatal Diagnosis | Category:Prenatal Diagnosis | Fetal Surgery | Classification of Diseases | Category:Neonatal Diagnosis

Diagnosis Categories

  • Prenatal diagnosis - number of different techniques (non-invasive, invasive) for determining normal development
  • Neonatal diagnosis (APGAR test, Guthrie test, Hearing test)
  • Maternal diagnosis - often pregnancy will expose maternal health problems

Some Recent Findings

  • Radiodiagnostic imaging in pregnancy and the risk of childhood malignancy: raising the bar[2] see also [3] "Determining carcinogenic risk following imaging radiation exposure is based mostly on predictive mathematical models developed from empirical data provided by large observational studies..."
  • Maternal effects and cancer risk in the progeny of mice exposed to X-rays before conception[4] "To investigate in an animal model whether preconceptual X-ray exposure leads to an altered tumor rate and spectrum in the offspring, a transgeneration carcinogenesis study was carried out. Female mice received X-ray irradiation (2 x 2 Gray) 2 weeks prior to mating with untreated males. ... Fertility and the lifetime of the maternal mice were reduced by the X-ray irradiation, and their incidence of lung and liver tumors was increased as compared to non-irradiated mice. The descendants of all groups revealed comparable body weights and mortality rates. The incidence of hematopoietic/lymphoreticular tissue tumors increased in the female hybrids by 6 months of CsA-treatment. A higher incidence of lung and liver tumors in the sham-treated male progeny of irradiated mothers was detected, pointing to a possible germ cell-transmitted alteration initiated by the preconceptual maternal X-ray exposure."

Musculoskeletal Abnormalities

Congenital Hip Dislocation

Congenital dislocation hip.jpg Renal agenesis 01.jpg

(>>) right hip dysplasia is shown.

Skeletal Bowing

Fetal bowing and hypoplasia of the femur, tibia and fibula, and talipes equinovarus.[5]

Human fetus skeleton x-ray 02.jpg Human fetus skeleton x-ray 03.jpg

X-ray Links: Fetal skeleton | Fetal skeleton abnormal | Fetal skeleton abnormal | Musculoskeletal Abnormal | Musculoskeletal | X-ray



Renal Abnormalities

Renal Agenesis

Renal agenesis 01.jpg

Ureteral Duplication

Ureteral duplication 01.jpg

Links: Renal Abnormalities | Renal Development

Gastrointestinal Tract Abnormalities

Duodenal atresia.jpg

Duodenal atresia

Gene Tests

A new site developed by NIH "GeneTests" provides medical genetics information resources available at no cost to all interested persons. It contains educational information, a directory of genetic testing laboratories and links to other databases such as OMIM.

Links: Gene Tests


  1. Kenneth Hodson, Jason Waugh, Catherine Nelson-Piercy Early life radiation exposure. Withholding imaging in pregnancy may be hazardous. BMJ: 2011, 342;d1486 PubMed 21406518
  2. Eduardo L Franco, Guy-Anne Turgeon Radiodiagnostic imaging in pregnancy and the risk of childhood malignancy: raising the bar. PLoS Med.: 2010, 7(9);e1000338 PubMed 20838652 | PLoS Med.
  3. Joel G Ray, Michael J Schull, Marcelo L Urquia, John J You, Astrid Guttmann, Marian J Vermeulen Major radiodiagnostic imaging in pregnancy and the risk of childhood malignancy: a population-based cohort study in Ontario. PLoS Med.: 2010, 7(9);e1000337 PubMed 20838660 | PLoS Med.
  4. Clemens Dasenbrock, Thomas Tillmann, Heinrich Ernst, Wolfgang Behnke, Rupert Kellner, Gerd Hagemann, Volkhard Kaever, Manfred Kohler, Susanne Rittinghausen, Ulrich Mohr, Lorenzo Tomatis Maternal effects and cancer risk in the progeny of mice exposed to X-rays before conception. Exp. Toxicol. Pathol.: 2005, 56(6);351-60 PubMed 15945274
  5. Clara Mariquita Antoinette ten Broek, Jessica Bots, Irma Varela-Lasheras, Marianna Bugiani, Frietson Galis, Stefan Van Dongen Amniotic fluid deficiency and congenital abnormalities both influence fluctuating asymmetry in developing limbs of human deceased fetuses. PLoS ONE: 2013, 8(11);e81824 PubMed 24312362 | PLoS One.


Kevin W Southern, Marieke M E Mérelle, Jeannette E Dankert-Roelse, A D Nagelkerke Newborn screening for cystic fibrosis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev: 2009, (1);CD001402 PubMed 19160197

Renate Schulze-Rath, Gaël P Hammer, Maria Blettner Are pre- or postnatal diagnostic X-rays a risk factor for childhood cancer? A systematic review. Radiat Environ Biophys: 2008, 47(3);301-12 PubMed 18528700


Małgorzata M Dobrzyńska, Urszula Czajka Male-mediated developmental toxicity in mice after 8 weeks'exposure to low doses of X-rays. Int. J. Radiat. Biol.: 2005, 81(11);793-9 PubMed 16484148

R RUGH Fetal x-irradiation and fertility. Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med.: 1952, 80(2);388-95 PubMed 14949062

W L RUSSELL X-ray-induced mutations in mice. Cold Spring Harb. Symp. Quant. Biol.: 1951, 16;327-36 PubMed 14942747

T L FISHER Excessive x-ray exposure. Can Med Assoc J: 1950, 63(2);185-6; French transl, 186-7 PubMed 15434757

Search PubMed

Search PubMed: x-ray neonatal diagnosis | x-ray neonatal screening | maternal x-ray risk

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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2018, April 22) Embryology X-ray. Retrieved from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/X-ray

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© Dr Mark Hill 2018, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G