The Fetal Posterior Fossa on Prenatal Ultrasound Imaging: Normal Longitudinal Development and Posterior Fossa Anomalies.
AbstractFetal neurosonography and the assessment of the posterior fossa have gained in importance during the last 2 decades primarily due to the development of high-resolution ultrasound probes and the introduction of 3 D sonography. The anatomical development of the posterior fossa can be visualized well with the newest ultrasound technologies. This allows better knowledge of the anatomical structures and helps with understanding of the development of malformations of the posterior fossa. In this article the longitudinal development of the posterior fossa structures will be reviewed. The embryologic description will be compared with ultrasound descriptions. These embryologic and anatomic illustrations form the basis for the screening and diagnosis of malformations of the posterior fossa. During the first trimester, screening for open spina bifida as well as cystic malformations of the posterior fossa is possible. In the second and third trimester, malformations of the posterior fossa can be subdivided into 3 groups: fluid accumulation in the posterior fossa (Dandy-Walker malformation, Blake's pouch cyst, mega cisterna magna, arachnoid cyst, vermian hypoplasia), decreased cerebellar biometrics (volume) (cerebellar hypoplasia, pontocerebellar hypoplasia) and suspicious cerebellar anatomy (Arnold-Chiari malformation, rhombencephalosynapsis, Joubert syndrome). This algorithm, in combination with knowledge of normal development, facilitates the diagnostic workup of malformations of the posterior fossa.