Fetal magnetic resonance imaging of lymphangiomas

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Abstract

Objectives:

To evaluate the fetal magnetic resonance imaging findings of lymphangiomas.

Methods:

The magnetic resonance scans of eight fetuses with lymphangiomas were evaluated. Magnetic resonance evaluation included: number; size; signal intensities of the lesions; thickness of the septae; configuration of the margins; presence of blood breakdown products; change in size or signal intensity (in four patients with multiple examinations); exact expansion of the lesions to the adjacent anatomical structures; and concomitant pathological findings. Results were compared with postpartum clinical assessment and imaging in seven patients and with autopsy in one patient.

Results:

Two retroperitoneal, three thoracic, and three cervical lymphangiomas (diameters between 3.3 and 15.6 cm) were included. All lesions consisted of macrocysts, and additional microcystic parts were found in three lymphangiomas. Blood breakdown products were found in one lesion. Agreement with postpartum imaging was excellent. One patient received intrauterine drainage for chylothorax, and one pregnancy was terminated.

Conclusions:

Fetal lymphangiomas display the same magnetic resonance imaging features as postnatal lymphangiomas. Intrauterine magnetic resonance characterization of lymphangiomas provides the exact delineation, detection of associated and/or concomitant pathologies, and differential diagnosis among other cystic pathologies. Patient management may be altered with respect to the type and/or time of treatment, and with regard to the continuation or termination of pregnancy.

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