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This study evaluated the accuracy of prenatal MRI and postnatal CT imaging in the identification of congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation and bronchopulmonary sequestration by comparison with histological analysis.Over a 3-year period, 15 patients with lung malformations diagnosed prenatally by ultrasound were referred for prenatal MRI, and all were investigated postnatally by chest CT. All asymptomatic newborns with unresolved lesions underwent elective surgery by thoracoscopy. All surgical specimens were analysed histologically.Among the 15 patients with an abnormality diagnosed by ultrasound, prenatal MRI findings differed from the final histological diagnosis with respect to extent (n = 3), type of lesion (n = 1) and aberrant vessel identification (n = 4). Postnatal chest CT failed to visualize the aberrant vessel in one patient. Complete regression of the lesion was noted in two patients with bronchopulmonary sequestration, and in one patient with congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation and was confirmed by CT. Elective thoracoscopic lobectomy of the affected lobe was performed for 12 patients. Two conversions to thoracotomy were required. All operated patients had an uneventful hospital course.Prenatal MRI is less accurate than postnatal CT scan, which remains the most reliable diagnostic modality to specify the location and extent and kind of lesions.