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Clinical Reviews

Evolving applications of first-trimester ultrasound

Thanks to advances in technology and increasing understanding of fetal development, it is now possible to assess fetal anatomy in the first trimester in some pregnancies

December 2012 · Vol. 24, No. 12


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The authors report no financial relationships relevant to this article.

In recent years, prenatal screening and testing have begun to shift from the second trimester to the first. Ultrasonographic evaluation—a large component of fetal testing—is also applied earlier in gestation to provide information to clinicians and patients about the integrity of the pregnancy. The shifting of the classic, “gold standard” anatomy scan to the first trimester was made possible by high-frequency transvaginal transducers and by greater understanding of the early signs of fetal pathology.

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