Fetal MRI pp 259-277 | Cite as

MRI of the Fetal Endocrine Glands

  • Maria Theresa Schmook
Part of the Medical Radiology book series (MEDRAD)


Prenatal pathologies of the endocrine glands are generally rare, and reports in the literature about the use of fetal MRI for this purpose are still scarce. However, sonography and postnatal MR literature can help to assess the examination. For the pituitary gland, a T1w sequence is recommended to visualize the typical bright spot of the whole fetal gland. Possible pathologies include pituitary aplasia, duplication, ectopy, and transsphenoidal meningocele. The pineal gland is not demonstrable in fetal MRI. The thyroid gland is T1w hyperintense, and size can be measured, including screening for fetal goiter. In case of cervical teratoma or cystic hygroma, the position of the thyroid and trachea relative to the tumor should be assessed. The ovaries and undescended testes are usually not delineable. Fetal MRI is helpful in assessing ovarian cysts and possible complications, such as hemorrhage or torsion. In case of hydrocele, fetal MRI may be valuable in distinguishing simple from complex cases, the latter being associated with testicular torsion, inguinoscrotal hernia, or meconium periorchitis. For fetal MRI of the pancreas and adrenal glands, see Chapter 22.


Primordial Germ Cell Testicular Torsion Gestational Week Cystic Hygroma Kallmann Syndrome 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Radiology, Division of Neuroradiology and Musculoskeletal RadiologyMedical University of ViennaViennaAustria

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