OBJECTIVE. The purpose of our study was to assess the appearance of the colon and genitourinary tract in fetuses with respect to gestational age with T1- and T2-weighted MRI acquisitions and their applications to abnormalities in these systems. MATERIALS AND METHODS. Retrospective review of the fetal MRI database was performed to select studies in which both T1- and T2-weighted acquisitions were obtained. The signal characteristics of fluid in the fetal colon and urine in the fetal bladder were evaluated, and gestational age and fetal MRI diagnosis were recorded. A Mantel-Haenszel chi-square analysis was performed to evaluate the relationship of gestational age to MRI signal intensity. In fetuses with suspected colonic and genitourinary abnormalities, an assessment was made about whether the Tl-weighted findings added information to the T2-weighted findings. RESULTS. Eighty fetal MRI studies were reviewed. Forty-three studies showed normal findings, and 37 depicted genitourinary or gastrointestinal abnormalities. The mean gestational age was 27 weeks 6 days. The MRI signal characteristics of urine and meconium became significantly more conspicuous with increasing gestational age (urine bright on T2, p < 0.001; urine dark on T1, p < 0.001; meconium bright on T1, p < 0.001; meconium dark on T2, p < 0.001). Of the 37 cases with suspected problems of the gastrointestinal or genitourinary systems, the T1-weighted images added additional information in 23 cases. CONCLUSION. The appearance of urine and meconium on T1- and T2-weighted images is significantly more apparent with increasing gestational age. T1-weighted images identified meconium in the colon beyond 24 weeks' gestation and aided in the diagnosis of complex abnormalities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging