Magnetic Resonance Imaging

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Human brain and ventricular development imaged by MRI[1]
Micro-magnetic resonance imaging
Magnetic resonance imaging machine
Open magnetic resonance imaging

Recently there have been several groups preparing magnetic resonance imaging developmental embryo atlases of several species, including human[2], based upon imaging of different age embryos. There have been many studies of adult anatomical structures and also some of the placenta.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) began in 1977 and uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to produce images either as individual slices or reconstructed to give three dimensional (3D) views of specific anatomical regions or structures.

MRI can be used in fetuses at 18 weeks gestational age or later and has been used mainly in brain and spinal diagnosis, and has also been used to investigate other abnormalities of pregnancy.

Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) is a newly developed form of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Magnetic field variations of the MRI magnet are applied in at least six different directions generating a three dimensional shape of the diffusion pattern. This technique has be used mainly in neural imaging of white matter, due to the orientation of axon bundles and the associated directional water flow. (More? Neural Development Imaging) Computed Tomography is an alternative method of diagnostic imaging using X-rays.

Links: Movies | Neural System - Postnatal | Computed Tomography | Category:Magnetic Resonance Imaging

About MRI

A strong magnetic field (up to 1.5 to 4 Tesla) is generated in the machine through which the body is passed (the centre of the "donut ring" seen in the image). The earth's natural magnetic field is about 0.5 Gauss compared to 15,000 Gauss (1.5 Tesla) in the MRI.

Tesla (symbol T) The SI derived unit of magnetic flux density (or magnetic inductivity) was defined in 1960 and named after Nikola Tesla.

Some Recent Findings

  • The use of fetal MRI for renal and urogenital tract anomalies[3] "Fetal anomalies are detected in approximately 2% of all fetuses and, among these, genitourinary tract abnormalities account for 30 to 50% of all structural anomalies present at birth. Although ultrasound remains the first line diagnostic modality, fetal MRI provides important additional structural and functional information, especially with the development of faster sequences and the use of functional sequences. The added value of MRI-based imaging is three-fold: (i) improvement of diagnostic accuracy by adequate morphological examination, (ii) detection of additional anomalies; (iii) and, in addition, MRI has the potential to provide information regarding renal function. In this review, we describe the role of fetal MRI in the anatomical evaluation of renal and urogenital tract anomalies, and we also touch upon the contribution of functional MRI to the diagnostic workup of these conditions."
  • Fetal brain growth portrayed by a spatiotemporal diffusion tensor MRI atlas computed from in utero images[4] "Altered structural fetal brain development has been linked to neuro-developmental disorders. These structural alterations can be potentially detected in utero using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). However, acquisition and reconstruction of in utero fetal brain DTI remains challenging. Until now, motion-robust DTI methods have been employed for reconstruction of in utero fetal DTIs. However, due to the unconstrained fetal motion and permissible in utero acquisition times, these methods yielded limited success and have typically resulted in noisy DTIs. Consequently, atlases and methods that could enable groupwise studies, multi-modality imaging, and computer-aided diagnosis from in utero DTIs have not yet been developed. This paper presents the first DTI atlas of the fetal brain computed from in utero diffusion-weighted images. For this purpose an algorithm for computing an unbiased spatiotemporal DTI atlas, which integrates kernel-regression in age with a diffeomorphic tensor-to-tensor registration of motion-corrected and reconstructed individual fetal brain DTIs, was developed. Our new algorithm was applied to a set of 67 fetal DTI scans acquired from healthy fetuses each scanned at a gestational age between 21 and 39 weeks. The neurodevelopmental trends in the fetal brain, characterized by the atlas, were qualitatively and quantitatively compared with the observations reported in prior ex vivo and in utero studies, and with results from imaging gestational-age equivalent preterm infants. Our major findings revealed early presence of limbic fiber bundles, followed by the appearance and maturation of projection pathways (characterized by an age related increase in FA) during late 2nd and early 3rd trimesters. During the 3rd trimester association fiber bundles become evident. In parallel with the appearance and maturation of fiber bundles, from 21 to 39 gestational weeks gradual disappearance of the radial coherence of the telencephalic wall was qualitatively identified. These results and analyses show that our DTI atlas of the fetal brain is useful for reliable detection of major neuronal fiber bundle pathways and for characterization of the fetal brain reorganization that occurs in utero. The atlas can also serve as a useful resource for detection of normal and abnormal fetal brain development in utero." DTI Fetal Brain Atlas
  • Review - Ex Vivo Fetal Brain MRI: Recent Advances, Challenges, and Future Directions[5] "During early development, the fetal brain undergoes dynamic morphological changes. These changes result from neurogenic events, such as neuronal proliferation, migration, axonal elongation, retraction, and myelination. The duration and intensity of these events vary across species. Comparative assessments of these neurogenic events give us insight into evolutionary changes and the complexity of human brain development. Recent advances in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), especially ex vivo MRI, permit characterizing and comparing fetal brain development across species. Comparative ex vivo MRI studies support the detection of species-specific differences that occur during early brain development. In this review, we provide a comprehensive overview of ex vivo MRI studies that characterize early brain development in humans, monkeys, cats, as well as rats/mice. Finally, we discuss the current advantages and limitations of ex vivo fetal brain MRI."
  • The Brain before Birth: Using fMRI to Explore the Secrets of Fetal Neurodevelopment[6] "In the past decade, advances in a neuroimaging technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have offered researchers an unprecedented look at how those connections form before and shortly after birth. With these advances, they have also begun to unlock some of the signatures of abnormal brain development. fMRI is not perfect. The images generated by the technology often must be manipulated to correct for distortion and to scale brain scans to a consistent, comparable template. Movement causes problems with data analysis and interpretation—and babies and fetuses are notoriously wriggly unless asleep or sedated. Finally, technical issues potentially result in artifacts that may not be recognized as errors."
  • Review - MR Imaging of the Fetal Face[7] "The human face is a complex anatomic structure with an equally complex embryologic development. Derangement of the developmental process can result in various structural anomalies, which range from a mainly cosmetic deformity, such as cleft lip, to potentially life-threatening conditions such as arhinia. These anomalies (a) can occur as isolated anomalies; (b) can be associated with intracranial, spinal, or dental anomalies; or (c) can be a part of various syndromes, thus serving as diagnostic clues in such cases. Proper evaluation of fetal facial deformities can help in prognostication, family counseling, and prenatal or early postnatal intervention. Ultrasonography (US) is the first line of investigation in these cases. However, when US does not allow complete evaluation of these anomalies owing to its inherent limitations, magnetic resonance (MR) imaging allows comprehensive evaluation of the anomaly itself and also evaluation of various associations and the treatment approach. The embryology of the fetal facial structures is considered with regard to the MR imaging technique and the MR imaging anatomy. The MR imaging features of various structural anomalies are described and classified into six groups, namely, orofacial clefts, orbital anomalies, nasal anomalies, facial masses, external ear anomalies, and abnormal face shape or profile." head
  • High resolution post-mortem MRI of non-fixed in situ foetal brain in the second trimester of gestation: Normal foetal brain development[8] "To describe normal foetal brain development with high resolution post-mortem MRI (PMMRI) of non-fixed foetal brains. We retrospectively collected PMMRIs of foetuses without intracranial abnormalities and chromosomal aberrations studied after a termination of pregnancy due to extracranial abnormalities or after a spontaneous intrauterine death. PMMRIs were performed on a 3-T scanner without any fixation and without removing the brain from the skull. All PMMRIs were evaluated in consensus by two neuroradiologists. Our analysis included ten PMMRIs (median gestational age (GA): 21 weeks; range: 17-28 weeks). At 19 and 20 weeks of GA, the corticospinal tracts are recognisable in the medulla oblongata, becoming less visible from 21 weeks. Prior to 20 weeks the posterior limb of the internal capsule (PLIC) is more hypointense than surrounding deep grey nuclei; starting from 21 weeks the PLIC becomes isointense, and is hyperintense at 28 weeks. From 19-22 weeks, the cerebral hemispheres show transient layers: marginal zone, cortical plate, subplate, and intermediate, subventricular and germinal zones. PMMRI of non-fixed in situ foetal brains preserves the natural tissue contrast and skull integrity. We assessed foetal brain development in a small cohort of foetuses, focusing on 19-22 weeks of gestation."
  • MR microscopy of the human fetal upper extremity - a proof-of-principle study[9] "Current knowledge of the human fetal and embryonic development relies on early descriptive studies of humans and from experimental studies of laboratory animals and embryos. Taking the upper extremity as an example, this study explores the potential of magnetic resonance microscopy (MRM) for the assessment of the development of the fetal upper extremity and discusses its correlation with histological findings."
More recent papers  
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Search term: Fetal Magnetic Resonance Imaging | Fetal Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Older papers  
These papers originally appeared in the Some Recent Findings table, but as that list grew in length have now been shuffled down to this collapsible table.

See also the Discussion Page for other references listed by year and References on this current page.

  • Review - Fetal MRI - An approach to practice[10] "MRI has been increasingly used for detailed visualization of the fetus in utero as well as pregnancy structures. Yet, the familiarity of radiologists and clinicians with fetal MRI is still limited. This article provides a practical approach to fetal MR imaging. Fetal MRI is an interactive scanning of the moving fetus owed to the use of fast sequences. Single-shot fast spin-echo (SSFSE) T2-weighted imaging is a standard sequence. T1-weighted sequences are primarily used to demonstrate fat, calcification and hemorrhage. Balanced steady-state free-precession (SSFP), are beneficial in demonstrating fetal structures as the heart and vessels. Diffusion weighted imaging (DWI), MR spectroscopy (MRS), and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) have potential applications in fetal imaging. Knowing the developing fetal MR anatomy is essential to detect abnormalities. MR evaluation of the developing fetal brain should include recognition of the multilayered-appearance of the cerebral parenchyma, knowledge of the timing of sulci appearance, myelination and changes in ventricular size. With advanced gestation, fetal organs as lungs and kidneys show significant changes in volume and T2-signal. Through a systematic approach, the normal anatomy of the developing fetus is shown to contrast with a wide spectrum of fetal disorders. The abnormalities displayed are graded in severity from simple common lesions to more complex rare cases. Complete fetal MRI is fulfilled by careful evaluation of the placenta, umbilical cord and amniotic cavity."
  • Magnetic resonance diffusion-weighted imaging: reproducibility of regional apparent diffusion coefficients for the normal fetal brain[11] "To evaluate the reproducibility of regional apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) measurements of the normal fetal brain in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Fifty normal singleton fetuses from healthy pregnant women between 19 and 37 weeks' gestation were studied without sedation. ...ADC values either remained constant (BG, FWM, PWM, TWM, OWM, CSO) or decreased (CH, pons, thalamus) with advancing menstrual age."
  • Human birth observed in real-time open magnetic resonance imaging[12] "Knowledge about the mechanism of labor is based on assumptions and radiographic studies performed decades ago. The goal of this study was to describe the relationship between the fetus and the pelvis as the fetus travels through the birth canal, using an open magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner."
  • MRI: is there a role in obstetrics?[13] "Magnetic resonance imaging has a complementary role in obstetrical imaging to ultrasound (US). Although US has advantages as an initial imaging technique, there are significant numbers of patients who cannot be adequately evaluated for a variety of reasons including calvarial calcification, oligoanhydramnios, or simply obesity. MR can provide additional information that cannot be obtained by US and is invaluable in central nervous system anomaly evaluation, airway management, and planning for postnatal intervention. Newer techniques established in the postnatal population such as spectroscopy, diffusion-weighted imaging, and functional imaging have future applications in the fetus."
  • Magnetic resonance imaging and gynecological devices[14] "Though plastic devices do not represent a contraindication to the use of the technique, those including metallic components have been submitted to several tests, after which they were classified as MR Conditional (devices presenting no risks in MR-specific environments) by the Food and Drug Administration. Thus, the use of MRI can be safely advised to women with this type of device as long as the magnetic resonance equipment is ≤3.0 T."
  • Developmental atlas of the early first trimester human embryo.[2]"To obtain data on early human development, we used magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and episcopic fluorescence capture (EFIC) to acquire digital images of human embryos spanning the time of dynamic tissue remodeling and organogenesis (Carnegie stages 13 to 23)." Carnegie Stages
  • Anatomical characterization of human fetal brain development with diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging.[15] "Three-dimensional reconstruction shows that major brain fissures appear while most of the cerebral surface remains smooth until the end of the second trimester. A dominant radial organization was identified at 15 gestational weeks, followed by both laminar and radial architectures in the cerebral wall throughout the remainder of the second trimester. Volumetric measurements of different structures indicate that the volumes of basal ganglia and ganglionic eminence increase along with that of the whole brain, while the ventricle size decreases in the later second trimester." Neural System Development

Human Birth

The images below are from a recent study employing new MRI equipment and methodology that allows more free access to the scanned patient compared to the original methodologies. This should allow study of complex physiological processes, such as childbirth, in relative real-time.

Birth- Magnetic Resonance Imaging 01.jpg

2010.12.07 - Press release | Birth Image | AG OMRT - Radiologie "the birth of a child in an “open” MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner that allows a mother-to-be to fit fully into the machine."

Birth- Magnetic Resonance Imaging 02.jpg

This birth is a vertex (head or cephalic) presentation in an occipito-anterior position. Labor stage 2 is shown with the head already within the pelvis birth canal, and lying between the maternal pubic symphysis (anterior) and the sacrum (posterior).

Links: Birth | AG OMRT - Radiologie
Birth MRI icon.jpg
 ‎‎Human Birth MRI
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Species Imaging with MRI


  • Whole Embryo[2] "To obtain data on early human development, we used magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and episcopic fluorescence capture (EFIC) to acquire digital images of human embryos spanning the time of dynamic tissue remodeling and organogenesis (Carnegie stages 13 to 23)."
  • Brain[1] "Quantitative whole brain 3D validation of tissue labeling performed on a set of 14 fetal MR scans (20.57-22.86 weeks gestational age) demonstrates that this atlas-based EM segmentation approach achieves consistently high DSC performance for the main tissue types in the fetal brain."

Fetal (9 month) MRI[16]


  • Brain[17] "We devised a protocol to scan pregnant baboons serially at 3 T for up to 3 h per session. Seven baboons were scanned 1-6 times, beginning as early as 56 days post-conceptional age, and as late as 185 days (term approximately 185 days). Successful scanning of the fetal baboon required careful animal preparation and anesthesia, in addition to optimization of the scanning protocol. We successfully acquired maps of relaxation times (T(1) and T(2)) and high-resolution anatomical images of the brains of fetal baboons at multiple time points during the course of gestation."

Monkey Development


  • Mouse Mutants[18]"Using individual 3D embryo MRI histology, we identified new pituitary phenotypes in Hesx1 mutant mice. Subsequently we use advanced computational techniques to produce a whole-body embryo atlas from 6 CD-1 embryos, creating an average image with a greatly enhanced anatomical detail, particularly in CNS structures."
  • A 4D atlas and morphologic database[19] "This work makes magnetic resonance microscopy of the mouse embryo and neonate broadly available with carefully annotated normative data and an extensive environment for collaborations."
Links: Mouse Development | 4D Atlas and Morphologic Database


  • Eye development [20] "We subsequently used the images obtained from the MRI data in order to make precise measurements of chick embryo eye surface area, volume and axial length from E4 to E10."

Chicken Development


  • Early embryo[21]"Here, we report on the use of microscopic magnetic resonance imaging (mMRI) to noninvasively observe mitotic cell division of early blastomeres in the optically opaque Xenopus laevis embryo."

Frog Development

Embryo Imaging

Xenopus Embryo Frog Development
Xenopus-MRI-01-icon.jpg Xenopus-MRI-02-icon.jpg Xenopus-MRI-03-icon.jpg
MRI 01 MRI 02 MRI 03
Links: Movies

Structure Imaging

Upper Limb

MRI Human Embryo - upper limb 01.jpg

Human embryo week 6 (GA 8 week) and week 7 (GA 9 week).[9] Ex vivo magnetic resonance microscopy (MRM) at 7.1 T (Clin Scan, Bruker Biospin, Germany) was performed in 10 human specimens at 8 to 12 weeks of gestational age (GA). In-plane resolution was 20 μm with a slice thickness of 70 μm.

a GA 8 week Sagittal T2w - humerus b GA 8 week Coronal T2w - forearm c GA 9 week Coronal T2w - forearm
Shows initial ossification within the central part of the diaphysis (arrow).

Chondrified ribs (short arrow).

Shows small ossification centers in the central parts of the radius and ulna (arrow).

The carpal (dotted white arrow) and metacarpal bones (dotted black arrow) are already visible as precartilage states.

Shows increased size of the ossification centers in humerus (white arrowhead) and radius (black arrow).

The carpal and metacarpal bones demonstrate progressive chondrification and appear hypointense compared to the 8-week GA specimen

Table of Ossification of the Bones of the Superior Extremity  
(Days and weeks refer to the prenatal, years to the postnatal period.)
Bone Centres Time of appearance of centre Union of primary and secondary centres; remarks.
Clavicle Diaphysis 6th week There are two centres in the shaft, a medial and a lateral. These blend on the 45th day (Mall). Shaft and epiphysis unite between the 20th and 25th years.
Sternal epiphysis 18th to 20th year
Scapula Primary centres: The chief centre appears near the lateral angle. The subcoracoid centre appears at the base of the coracoid process and also gives rise to a part of the superior margin of the glenoid fossa. The coracoid process joins the body about the age of puberty. The acromial epiphysis centres (two or three in number) fuse with one another soon after their appearance and with the spine between the 22nd and 25th years (Quain); 20th year (Wilms). The subcoracoid and the epiphysis of the coracoid process, the glenoid fossa, the inferior angle, and the vertebral margin join between the 18th and 24th years in the order mentioned (Sappey).
1. That of the body, the spine, and the base of the glenoid cavity. 8th week (Mall) 1
2. Goraooid process 1st year
3. Subcoracoid 10th to 12th year
Acromial epiphyses 15th to 18th year
Epiphysis of the inferior angle. 16 to 18th year
Epiphyses of the vertebral border. 18th to 20th year
Epiphyses of upper surface of coracoid. 16th to 18th year.
Epiphysis of surface of glenoid fossa. 16th to 18th year.
Humerus Diaphysis 6th to 7th week (Mall) The epiphyses of the head, the tuberculum majus and the tuberculum minus (the last is inconstant) unite with one another in 4th-6th year and with the shaft in 20th-25th year. The epiphyses of the capitulum, lateral epicondyle, and trochlea unite with one another and then in the 16th-17th year join the shaft. The epiphysis of the medial epicondyle joins the shaft in the 18th year.
Head 1st to 2d year
Tuberculum majus 2d to 3d year
Tuberculum minus 3d to 5th year
Capitulum 2d to 3d year
Epioondylus med 5th to 8th year
Lateral margin of trochlea 11th to 12th year
Epicondylus lat 12th to 14th year
Radius Diaphysis 7th week (Mall) The superior epiphysis and shaft unite between the 17th and 20th years. The inferior epiphysis and shaft about the 21st year (Pryor); M 21st year, F 21st-25th year (Sappey). Sometimes an epiphysis is found m the tuberosity (R. and K.) and in the styloid process (Sappey).
Carpal end F 8th month - M 15th month (Pryor)
Humeral end 6th-7th year
Ulna Diaphysis 7th week The centre for the shaft of the ulna arises a few days later than that for the radius. The proximal epiphysis is united to the shaft about the 17th year; the inferior epiphysis between the 18th and 20th years; F 20th - 21st years, M 21st - 24th years (Sappey). There is sometimes an epiphysis in the styloid process (Sohwegel) and in the tip of the olecranon process (Sappey).
Carpal end F 6th-7th year - M 7th-8th year (Pryor)
Humeral end 10th year
Carpus Os capitatum F 3d-6th month M 4th-10th month The navicular sometimes has two centres of ossification (Serres. Rambaud and Renault). Serres and Pryor have described two centres of ossification in the lunatum. Debierre has described two centres in the pisiform, one in a girl of eleven, the other in a boy of twelve. The OS hamatum may have a special centre for the hamular process. Pryor has found two centres in the triquetrum. Pryor (1908), describes the centres of ossification of the carpal bones as assuming shapes characteristic of each bone at an early period.
Os hamatum F 5th-10th month M 6th-12th month
Os triquetrum F 2d-3d year M about 3 years
Os lunatum F 3rd-4th year M about 4 years
Os naviculare F at 4 years, or early in 5th year M about 5 years
Os mult. maj. F 4th-5th year M 5th-6th year
Osmult. min. F 4th-5th year M 6th-6th year
Os pisiforme F 9th-10th year M 12th-3th year
Metacarpals Diaphyses 9th week (Mall) The centres for the shafts of the second and third metacarpals are the first to appear. There may be a distal epiphysis for the first metacarpal and a proximal epiphysis for the second. Pryor (1906). found the distal epiphysis of the first metacarpal in about 6 per cent, of cases. It is a family characteristic. It arises before the 4th year and unites later. Pryor found the proximal epiphysis of the second metacarpal in six out of two hundred families. It unites with the shaft between the 4th and 6th-7th year; sometimes, however, not until the 14th year. In the seal and some other animals all the metacarpals have proximal and distal epiphyses (Quain). The epiphyses join the shafts between the 15th and 20th years. There may bean independent epiphysis for the styloid process of the 5th metacarpal. The epiphysis of the metacarpal of the index finger appears first. This is followed by those of the 3d, 4th, 5th, and 1st digits.
Proximal epiphysis of the first metacarpal 3d year
Distal epiphyses of the metacarpals 2d year
Phalanges Diaphyses 9th week (Mall)
First row Proximal epiphyses 1st-3rd year (Pryor) The shafts of the phalanges of the second and third fingers are the first to show centres of ossification. The phalanges of the little finger are the last, the epiphysis in the middle finger is the first to appear. This is followed by those of the 4th, 2d, 5th, and 1st digits.
Middle row Diaphyses 11th-12th week (Mall) The centres in the shafts of this row are the last to appear. The epiphysis of the phalanx of the middle finger is the first to appear. This is followed by those of the ring, index, and little finger (Pryor).
Proximal epiphyses 2nd-3rd year
Terminal row Diaphyses 7th-8th week The terminal phalanx of the thumb is the first to show a centre of ossification in the shaft. This is the first centre of ossification in the hand. It is developed in connective tissue while the centres of the other phalanges are developed in cartilage (Mall). The epiphysis of the ungual phalanx of the thumb is followed by those of the middle, ring, index, and little fingers. The fusion of the epiphyses of the phalanges with the diaphyses takes place in the 18th-20th year.
Proximal epiphyses 2nd-3rd year
Sesamoid bones Ossification begins generally in the 13th - 14th years, and may not take place until after middle life (Thilenius). For table of relative frequency in the embryo and adult see p. 385.
  1. According to Poirier, Traite d'Anatomie, p. 138, two centres appear in the eighth week, and unite in the third month to form a centre of ossification for the body of the scapula.
  2. F. Keibel and F.P. Mall Manual of Human Embryology (1910) Philadelphia & London: J. B. Lippincott Company.

M = male F = female.

Reference: Manual of Human Embryology by Franz Keibel and Franklin P. Mall (1910) Table - Upper Limb
Links: Historic - Upper limb ossification table | Historic - Chapter 11 Development of the Skeleton | Upper limb table | Upper limb collapsible table | Lower limb ossification table | Bone Development Timeline | Limb Development
Links: Limb Development | Bone Development | Bone Timeline


MRI normal placenta different gestational ages.jpg

MRI normal placenta different gestational ages.[22]

Human placenta vascular 01.jpg
Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) of human placenta viewed from the fetal side.[23]
Links: Placenta Development

Adult Inner Ear

The 3D reconstructed technique was used to acquire coronal and axial images of the adult inner ear. The coronal section reconstruction was chosen since it increases visibility of the turns of the cochlea.[24]

Cochlea MRI 01.jpg Cochlea MRI 02.jpg

Links: Hearing - Inner Ear Development

Adult Skull

Adult Skull MRI Links: Skull Development - MRI
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 ‎‎Temporal Bones
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 ‎‎Occipital - Frontal
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The following images are from human fixed fetal brains scanned with diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging.[1]

Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) A newly developed form of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Magnetic field variations of the MRI magnet are applied in at least six different directions generating a three dimensional shape of the diffusion pattern. This technique can be used in neural imaging of white matter due to the orientation of axon bundles and the associated water flow. (More? Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

Neural DTI Links: Scaled Fissures 13-21 weeks | Fissures 13-21 weeks | Brain Sylvian Fissure | Scaled Brain and Ventricles 13-21 weeks | Scaled Brain, Ventricles and Ganglia 13-21 weeks | Limbic Tract 13-19 weeks | Brain and Ventricles 13-21 weeks | Sylvian Fissure Movie | Neural System Development | Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Brain Tract

Brain Ventricles and Ganglia

Brain Fissures

Fetal brain MRI01.jpg

Cortical surfaces for neonates at 28, 36 and 44 weeks PMA at scan with the labels overlaid.[25]

Links: neural | Cerebrum Development

Prenatal Diagnosis

Dandy Walker malformation MRI
Dandy Walker malformation MRI GA 26 weeks.[10]

MRI can be used in fetuses at 18 weeks gestational age or later and has been used mainly in brain and spinal diagnosis, and has also been used to investigate other abnormalities of pregnancy.

  • Absence of harmful effects of magnetic resonance exposure at 1.5 T in utero during the third trimester of pregnancy: a follow-up study.{{#pmid:15234454|PMID15234454"Thirty-five children between 1 and 3 years of age, and nine children between 8 and 9 years of age, that were exposed to MR during the third trimester of pregnancy, were checked for possible adverse effects in a follow-up study. Data on pregnancy and birth, the results of a neurological examination at 3 months, their medical documentary with emphasis on eye and ear functioning, and a questionnaire answered by their mothers were collected and evaluated. In five children abnormal test results were observed, that had no relation to the MR exposure. No harmful effects of prenatal MR exposure in the third trimester of pregnancy were detected in this study."
  • Prenatal diagnosis of neurofibromatosis type 1: sonographic and MRI findings.[26] "Prenatal ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrated a large oropharyngeal tumor, and cardiac and cranial abnormalities consistent with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) in a third-trimester fetus, which were confirmed on postmortem examination. Sonographic features of NF1 are generally nonspecific; MR examination provided significant additional information, facilitating prenatal diagnosis."
  • In utero magnetic resonance imaging for brain and spinal abnormalities in fetuses.[27] "In the past eight years magnetic resonance imaging has been used to detect fetal abnormalities in utero at many centres around the world."

Links: Prenatal Diagnosis | Magnetic Resonance Imaging


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Habas PA, Kim K, Rousseau F, Glenn OA, Barkovich AJ & Studholme C. (2010). Atlas-based segmentation of developing tissues in the human brain with quantitative validation in young fetuses. Hum Brain Mapp , 31, 1348-58. PMID: 20108226 DOI.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Yamada S, Samtani RR, Lee ES, Lockett E, Uwabe C, Shiota K, Anderson SA & Lo CW. (2010). Developmental atlas of the early first trimester human embryo. Dev. Dyn. , 239, 1585-95. PMID: 20503356 DOI.
  3. Chalouhi GE, Millischer AÉ, Mahallati H, Siauve N, Melbourne A, Grevent D, Vinit N, Heidet L, Aigrain Y, Ville Y, Blanc T & Salomon LJ. (2019). The use of fetal MRI for renal and urogenital tract anomalies. Prenat. Diagn. , , . PMID: 31736096 DOI.
  4. Khan S, Vasung L, Marami B, Rollins CK, Afacan O, Ortinau CM, Yang E, Warfield SK & Gholipour A. (2019). Fetal brain growth portrayed by a spatiotemporal diffusion tensor MRI atlas computed from in utero images. Neuroimage , 185, 593-608. PMID: 30172006 DOI.
  5. Vasung L, Charvet CJ, Shiohama T, Gagoski B, Levman J & Takahashi E. (2019). Ex vivo fetal brain MRI: Recent advances, challenges, and future directions. Neuroimage , 195, 23-37. PMID: 30905833 DOI.
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  7. Nagarajan M, Sharbidre KG, Bhabad SH & Byrd SE. (2018). MR Imaging of the Fetal Face: Comprehensive Review. Radiographics , , 170142. PMID: 29652578 DOI.
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  • Balanced gradient echo - a sequence image useful in detection of the edges of organs and lesions. Does not show the organ detail, but enhances the edges.
  • Diffusion-weighted image - (DWI) useful in imaging the neural (brain, CSF) and renal (kidney, shape and size). Brain image is age-dependent and symmetrical. Neural diagnostically for small haemorrhages, infarcts, and infection damage.
  • T1 weighted image - (T1W, spin-lattice relaxation time) a sequence image with low spatial resolution and useful in detection (bright) imaging of the liver, thyroid, fat and meconium.
  • T2 weighted image - (T2W) a sequence image useful in providing the most detailed fetal anatomy.

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