Structural fetal body MRI provides true 3D information required for volumetry of fetal organs. However, current clinical and research practice primarily relies on manual slice-wise segmentation of raw T2-weighted stacks, which is time consuming, subject to inter- and intra-observer bias and affected by motion-corruption. Furthermore, there are no existing standard guidelines defining a universal approach to parcellation of fetal organs. This work produces the first parcellation protocol of the fetal body organs for motion-corrected 3D fetal body MRI. It includes 10 organ ROIs relevant to fetal quantitative volumetry studies. We also introduce the first population-averaged T2w MRI atlas of the fetal body. The protocol was used as a basis for training of a neural network for automated organ segmentation. It showed robust performance for different gestational ages. This solution minimises the need for manual editing and significantly reduces time. The general feasibility of the proposed pipeline was also assessed by analysis of organ growth charts created from automated parcellations of 91 normal control 3T MRI datasets that showed expected increase in volumetry during 22-38 weeks gestational age range. In addition, the results of comparison between 60 normal and 12 fetal growth restriction datasets revealed significant differences in organ volumes.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 7 Aug 2023

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