Innovative virtual reality measurements for embryonic growth and development

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Background: Innovative imaging techniques, using up-to-date ultrasonic equipment, necessitate specific biometry. The aim of our study was to test the possibility of detailed human embryonic biometry using a virtual reality (VR) technique. Methods: In a longitudinal study, three-dimensional (3D) measurements were performed from 6 to 14 weeks gestational age in 32 pregnancies (n = 16 spontaneous conception, n = 16 IVF/ICSI). A total of 125 3D volumes were analysed in the I-Space VR system, which allows binocular depth perception, providing a realistic 3D illusion. Crown-rump length (CRL), biparietal diameter (BPD), occipito-frontal diameter (OFD), head circumference (HC) and abdominal circumference (AC) were measured as well as arm length, shoulder width, elbow width, hip width and knee width. Results: CRL, BPD, OFD and HC could be measured in more than 96% of patients, and AC in 78%. Shoulder width, elbow width, hip width and knee width could be measured in more than 95% of cases, and arm length in 82% of cases. Growth curves were constructed for all variables. Ear and foot measurements were only possible beyond 9 weeks gestation. Conclusions: This study provides a detailed, longitudinal description of normal human embryonic growth, facilitated by a VR system. Growth curves were created for embryonic biometry of the CRL, BPD, HC and AC early in pregnancy and also of several 'new' biometric measurements. Applying virtual embryoscopy will enable us to diagnose growth and/or developmental delay earlier and more accurately. This is especially important for pregnancies at risk of severe complications, such as recurrent late miscarriage and early growth restriction.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1404-1410
Number of pages7
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Research programs

  • EMC MGC-02-02-01
  • EMC MGC-02-52-01-A
  • EMC NIHES-01-66-01

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