Prenatal evaluation of the middle ear and diagnosis of middle ear hypoplasia using MRI

Eldad Katorza, Catherine Nahama-Allouche, Vanina Castaigne, Marie Gonzales, Eva Galliani, Sandrine Marlin, Jean Marie Jouannic, Jonathan Rosenblatt, Hubert Ducou Le Pointe, Catherine Garel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Analysis of the middle ear with fetal MRI has not been previously reported. Objective: To show the contribution of fetal MRI to middle ear imaging. Materials and methods: The tympanic cavity was evaluated in 108 fetal cerebral MRI examinations (facial and/or cerebral malformation excluded) and in two cases, one of Treacher Collins syndrome (case 1) and the other of oculo-auriculo-vertebral (OUV) spectrum (case 2) with middle ear hypoplasia identified by MRI at 27 and 36 weeks' gestation, respectively. Results: In all 108 fetuses (mean gestational age 32.5 weeks), the tympanic cavity and T2 hypointensity related to the ossicles were well visualised on both sides. Case 1 had micro/retrognathia and bilateral external ear deformity and case 2 had retrognathism with a left low-set and deformed ear. MRI made it possible to recognize the marked hypoplasia of the tympanic cavity, which was bilateral in case 1 and unilateral in case 2. Both syndromes are characterized by craniofacial abnormalities including middle ear hypoplasia, which cannot be diagnosed with US. Conclusion: The middle ear cavity can be visualized with fetal MRI. We emphasize the use of this imaging modality in the diagnosis of middle ear hypoplasia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)652-657
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Radiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Fetus
  • MRI
  • Middle ear
  • OAV spectrum
  • Otomandibular dysplasia
  • Prenatal diagnosis
  • Treacher Collins syndrome


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