Fetal MRI of cloacal exstrophy
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Prenatal ultrasonographic (US) diagnosis of cloacal exstrophy (CE) is challenging.
To define the fetal MRI findings in CE.
Materials and methods
We performed a retrospective review of eight patients with CE. Imaging was performed between 22 weeks and 36 weeks of gestation with US in four and MRI in eight fetuses. Abdominal wall, gastrointestinal/genitourinary, and spine and limb abnormalities detected were compared with postnatal evaluation.
US failed to display CE in one of the four fetuses. Fetal MRI confirmed CE in all eight fetuses by demonstrating absence of a normal bladder and lack of meconium-filled rectum/colon, associated with protuberant pelvic contour and omphalocele. These findings correlated postnatally with CE, atretic hindgut and omphalocele. One fetus had imaging before rupture of the cloacal membrane, showing a protruding pelvic cyst. Absent bladder was noted in the remaining seven fetuses. Confirmed skin-covered spinal defects were noted in seven fetuses, low conus/tethered cord in one and clubfoot in three. Six fetuses had renal anomalies, two had hydrocolpos and one had ambiguous genitalia.
Fetal MRI provides a confident diagnosis of CE when a normal bladder is not identified, there is a protuberant abdominopelvic contour and there is absence of meconium-filled rectum and colon. Genitourinary and spinal malformations are common associations.