Fetal schizencephaly

Last revised by Bahman Rasuli on 7 Apr 2021

Fetal schizencephaly refers to schizencephaly diagnosed in utero. Usually only open lips types can be diagnosed antenatally.

Radiographic features

Antenatal ultrasound
  • may show a unilateral or bilateral defect extending from the pial surface to the ventricular wall
  • there may be other features such as
Fetal MRI
  • fetal MRI is performed to confirm the cleft is grey matter lined which distinguishes this entity from porencephalic cyst
  • it is more sensitive at detecting close lip schizencephaly than ultrasound
  • it is also useful to confirm the presence of associated anomalies

Practical points

Similar abnormalities in the posterior fossa are called cerebellar clefts and may occur simultaneously with fetal schizencephaly. 

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