Female external genitalia on fetal magnetic resonance imaging




To characterize the normal development of the female external genitalia on fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).


This retrospective study included MRI examinations of 191 female fetuses (20–36 gestational weeks) with normal anatomy or minor abnormalities, following suspicion of anomalies on prenatal ultrasound examination. Using a 1.5-Tesla unit, the bilabial diameter was measured on T2-weighted sequences. Statistical description, as well as correlation and regression analyses, was used to evaluate bilabial diameter in relation to gestational age. MRI measurements were compared with published ultrasound data. The morphological appearance and signal intensities of the external genitalia were also assessed.


Mean bilabial diameters, with 95% CIs and percentiles, were defined. The bilabial diameter as a function of gestational age was expressed by the regression equation: bilabial diameter = − 11.336 + 0.836 × (gestational age in weeks). The correlation coefficient, r = 0.782, was statistically significant (P < 0.001). Bilabial diameter on MRI was not significantly different from that on ultrasound (P < 0.001). In addition, on MRI we observed changes in morphology of the external genitalia and in signal intensities with increasing gestational age.


We have provided a reference range of fetal bilabial diameter on MRI, which, in addition to ultrasound findings, may be helpful in the identification of genital anomalies. Copyright © 2011 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.