Prenatal MRI evaluation of limb–body wall complex

Elisa Aguirre-Pascual, Monica Epelman, Ann M. Johnson, Nancy A. Chauvin, Beverly G. Coleman, Teresa Victoria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: The sonographic (US) features of limb–body wall complex have been well documented; however the literature regarding the findings on MRI in limb–body wall complex is scant.

Objective: To characterize the prenatal MRI features of limb–body wall complex.

Materials and methods: We performed a retrospective review of all MRI scans of fetuses diagnosed with limb–body wall complex at our institution from 2001 to 2011. Fetuses without correlating US scans or follow-up information were excluded. Three pediatric radiologists blinded to the specific US findings reviewed the prenatal MRIs. Images were evaluated for the organ location and attachment, the body part affected, characterization of the body wall defect, and spinal, limb and umbilical cord abnormalities.

Results: Ten subjects met inclusion criteria. MRI was able to detect and characterize the body part affected and associated abnormalities. All fetuses had ventral wall defects, a small thorax and herniated liver and bowel. The kidneys were extracorporeal in three cases. The extruded organs were attached to the placenta or the uterine wall in all cases. Abnormal spinal curvatures of various degrees of severity were present in all cases. Eight cases had a short, uncoiled cord. Limb anomalies were present in 6 of the 10 cases.

Conclusion: We illustrate the common fetal MRI findings of limb–body wall complex. The prenatal diagnosis of limb–body wall complex and the differentiation of this defect from treatable abdominal wall defects are crucial to providing appropriate guidance for patient counseling and management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1412-1420
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Radiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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