Three-dimensional ultrasound imaging and measurement of nasal bone length, prenasal thickness and frontomaxillary facial angle in normal second- and third-trimester fetuses

F. I. Vos*, E. A.P. De Jong-Pleij, L. S.M. Ribbert, E. Tromp, C. M. Bilardo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives To assess the feasibility of nasal bone length (NBL), prenasal thickness (PT) and frontomaxillary facial (FMF) angle measurements performed on the same three-dimensional (3D) multiplanar-corrected profile view in healthy second- and third-trimester fetuses, to create reference ranges and to review published measurement techniques. Methods 3D volumes of 219 healthy second- and third-trimester fetuses were retrospectively analyzed. The quality of images and measurability of the markers were assessed with 5-point and 3-point scoring systems, respectively. Measurements of NBL (with care to exclude the frontal bone), PT and FMF were obtained in the exact mid-sagittal plane. Reference ranges were constructed based on measurements from images with high-quality (4 or 5 points) and high measurability (2 or 3 points) scores and compared with those in the most relevant published literature. Results A high-quality score was assigned to 111 images. Among these, a high measurability score was significantly more often achieved for NBL (98.2%) and PT (97.3%) than for the FMF angle (26.1%) (P < 0.001). Both NBL (NBL = - 6.927 + (0.83 × GA) - (0.01 × GA 2)) and PT (PT = (0.212 × GA) - 0.873) (where GA = gestational age) showed growth with gestation, with less pronounced growth for NBL after 28 weeks. Our reference range for the NBL showed a systematically smaller length than those in other two-dimensional (2D) ultrasound-based publications. The FMF angle measurements that we obtained did not show a significant change with GA. Conclusions NBL and PT are easily measured using 3D ultrasound whereas FMF angle measurement is more challenging. When it is measured in the exact mid-sagittal plane and care is taken to exclude the frontal bone, measurements of the NBL are systematically smaller than those in previous 2D ultrasound-based publications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)636-641
Number of pages6
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes

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