Effect of magnet strength on fetal brain biometry — a single-center retrospective MRI-based cohort study

Shai Shrot*, Efrat Hadi, Yiftach Barash, Chen Hoffmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Abnormal fetal brain measurements might affect clinical management and parental counseling. The effect of between-field-strength differences was not evaluated in quantitative fetal brain imaging until now. Our study aimed to compare fetal brain biometry measurements in 3.0 T with 1.5 T scanners. Methods: A retrospective cohort of 1150 low-risk fetuses scanned between 2012 and 2021, with apparently normal brain anatomy, were retrospectively evaluated for biometric measurements. The cohort included 1.5 T (442 fetuses) and 3.0 T scans (708 fetuses) of populations with comparable characteristics in the same tertiary medical center. Manually measured biometry included bi-parietal, fronto-occipital and trans-cerebellar diameters, length of the corpus-callosum, vermis height, and width. Measurements were then converted to centiles based on previously reported biometric reference charts. The 1.5 T centiles were compared with the 3.0 T centiles. Results: No significant differences between centiles of bi-parietal diameter, trans-cerebellar diameter, or length of the corpus callosum between 1.5 T and 3.0 T scanners were found. Small absolute differences were found in the vermis height, with higher centiles in the 3.0 T, compared to the 1.5 T scanner (54.6th-centile, vs. 39.0th-centile, p < 0.001); less significant differences were found in vermis width centiles (46.9th-centile vs. 37.5th-centile, p = 0.03). Fronto-occipital diameter was higher in 1.5 T than in the 3.0 T scanner (66.0th-centile vs. 61.8th-centile, p = 0.02). Conclusions: The increasing use of 3.0 T MRI for fetal imaging poses a potential bias when using 1.5 T-based charts. We elucidate those biometric measurements are comparable, with relatively small between-field-strength differences, when using manual biometric measurements. Small inter-magnet differences can be related to higher spatial resolution with 3 T scanners and may be substantial when evaluating small brain structures, such as the vermis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1517-1525
Number of pages9
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • Brain
  • Fetal development
  • Growth charts
  • Magnetic resonance imaging


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