How early are fetal cerebral sulci visible at prenatal ultrasound and what is the normal pattern of early fetal sulcal development?

Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology : the Official Journal of the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
A ToiK W Fong

Abstract

To evaluate the time of appearance and pattern of development of fetal cerebral sulci at prenatal ultrasound. We studied 50 normal fetuses for visibility of cerebral sulci, especially sulci which appear early in anatomical studies, namely the parieto-occipital fissure, calcarine sulcus, cingulate sulcus, convexity sulci and insula/Sylvian fissure. The gestational ages of the fetuses studied ranged from 15.6 to 29.6 weeks. Sulci could be seen by transabdominal ultrasound as early as 18.5 weeks. Medial hemispheric sulci and the insula were visible earlier and more confidently than convexity sulci. The earliest gestational ages at which specific sulci could be seen in any fetus were as follows: parieto-occipital fissure 18.5 weeks, calcarine sulcus 18.5 weeks, cingulate sulcus 23.2 weeks and convexity sulci 23.2 weeks. In the present series, the gestational ages at which these sulci were always visible were as follows: parieto-occipital fissure >20.5 weeks, calcarine sulcus >21.9 weeks, cingulate sulcus >24.3 weeks and convexity sulci >27.9 weeks. The insula and its margin (the circular sulcus) and the overgrowing opercula undergo characteristic maturation. The circular sulcus at the margin of the insula was initially smooth but s...Continue Reading

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