Malformations of Cortical Development: From Postnatal to Fetal Imaging

Tally Lerman-Sagie*, Zvi Leibovitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Abnormal fetal corticogenesis results in malformations of cortical development (MCD). Abnormal cell proliferation leads to microcephaly or megalencephaly, incomplete neuronal migration results in heterotopia and lissencephaly, neuronal overmigration manifests as cobblestone malformations, and anomalous postmigrational cortical organization is responsible for polymicrogyria and focal cortical dysplasias. MCD comprises various congenital brain disorders, caused by different genetic, infectious, or vascular etiologies and is associated with significant neurological morbidity. Although MCD are rarely diagnosed prenatally, both dedicated multiplanar neurosonography and magnetic resonance imaging enable good demonstration of fetal cortical development. The imaging signs of fetal MCD are: delayed or absent cerebral sulcation; premature abnormal sulci; thin and irregular hemispheric parenchyma; wide abnormal overdeveloped gyri; wide opening of isolated sulci; nodular bulging into the lateral ventricles; cortical clefts; intraparenchymal echogenic nodules; and cortical thickening. The postnatal and prenatal imaging features of four main malformations of cortical development - lissencephaly, cobblestone malformations, periventricular nodular heterotopia, and polymicrogyria - are described.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-618
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian Journal of Neurological Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016


  • Cobblestone malformation
  • Lissencephaly
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Malformations of cortical development
  • Periventricular nodular heterotopia
  • Polymicrogyria
  • Ultrasound


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