Evaluation of femur length during the second and third trimesters in fetuses with myelomeningocele

G. Williams, F. V. Coakley, S. Qayyum, O. A. Glenn, R. S. Breiman, P. W. Callen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To determine if the femur length of fetuses with myelomeningocele is shorter in the second and third trimesters compared with that of normal fetuses. Methods: We retrospectively collected measurements of femur length, head circumference, biparietal diameter and abdominal circumference from detailed obstetric ultrasound studies performed during the second and third trimesters in 31 fetuses with myelomeningocele and 43 fetuses with no detectable anomaly. The gestational age predicted by each parameter (based on Hadlock's tables) was compared with the true gestational age (based on last menstrual period), using the ANCOVA test to determine if there was a statistically significant difference between the two groups of fetuses. Results: There was no significant difference in femur length (P = 0.60) or in abdominal circumference (P = 0.85) between fetuses with myelomeningocele and normal fetuses. Fetuses with myelomeningocele did have a significantly lower biparietal diameter and head circumference (P ≤ 0.001). Conclusions: Myelomeningocele is not associated with reduced femur length in the second and third trimesters, suggesting that the known postnatal lower extremity foreshortening in patients with myelomeningocele develops late in gestation or after birth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-151
Number of pages4
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Femur length
  • Measurements
  • Myelomeningocele
  • Neural tube defect
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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