3D-computed tomography: A new method for the evaluation of fetal cranial morphology

Klaus Neumann, Alexander Moegelin, Norbert Temminghoff, Ralf J. Radlanski, Angelika Langford, Mathias Unger, Ruth Langer, Jürgen Bier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


This study is the first presentation of three-dimensional computed tomography (3D-CT) for the in vitro evaluation of the prenatal human cranium. The study was based on CT examinations from 26 aborted normal fetuses between 10 and 25 weeks gestational age. Incremental coronal and transverse CT slices of 1 mm thickness and a threshold segmentation algorithm were used to generate 3D-CT reconstructions (surface-shaded display, SSD) of the cranial bones similar to their anatomical appearance. The threshold of the segmentation algorithm was selected after comparison of the 3D-CT images generated with varying thresholds and graphically reconstructed histological serial sections of particular sutures in five specimens. The variation of the segmentation threshold resulted in alterations of the bone sizes and suture widths. However, 3D-CT images allowed sensitive identification of the cranial ossification centers and accurate evaluation of the bone topography. Cutting and rotating procedures made it possible to evaluate all imaged bones in arbitrary views without disturbing superpositions, thus making isolated examinations of particular macroscopic sections of the specimens unnecessary. In conclusion, 3D-CT of the fetal cranium promises to be of considerable help in the evaluation of prenatal cranial development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-22
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Craniofacial Genetics and Developmental Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Cranium
  • Fetus
  • Human
  • Identification
  • Imaging
  • Ossification
  • Three-dimensional

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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