EXAMINATION of the placenta is routinely performed by the obstetrician at the time of delivery. If any gross abnormality is observed or if the condition of the newborn warrants, the placenta is submitted for pathological evaluation. In essence, this is a retrospective analysis of the placenta. Ultrasound, however, provides a safe noninvasive method for examination of the placenta and its associated abnormalities in situ.1
This article presents representative cases demonstrating the capabilities of ultrasound in evaluating the macroscopic, antenatal features of placental disorders. The cases reported also illustrate the important role of the ultrasonographer in the antenatal diagnosis of placental abnormalities. This permits prompt institution of therapy or avoidance of other unnecessary diagnostic procedures.
As the organ of fetomaternal transfer, the placenta often reflects disorders of the fetus and mother as well as abnormalities of placental development (Table).
Materials and Methods
Commercially available, gray-scale ultrasound units provide excellent anatomic
Mulhern CB, Arger PH, Coleman BG. Ultrasonic Diagnosis of Placental Abnormalities in Situ. JAMA. 1980;244(20):2339–2341. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310200069035
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