Even at the early stages of gestation, the fetal face can be examined. There have been observations of the normal anatomy, such as orbits and the forehead, starting with the 12th week of gestation. However, nowadays, ultrasound equipment still cannot distinguish the soft tissues of the face, which are too thin. Yet, after the age of 14 weeks, we can easily examine the forehead, orbits, nose, lips, and ears. Recently, three-dimensional ultrasound (3D) images of the fetus can also be obtained. However, two-dimensional (2D) ultrasonographic (US) images are more easily, rapidly, efficiently, and accurately obtained. At the first stage of embryogenesis, the main part in the development of the fetal face is taken by the genetic factors. Later, the influence of the environment becomes more important. It is known that the outcome of chromosomal aberrations and of teratogenic factors is the facial malformation. Therefore, examining the facial dimorphism may get us useful hints in revealing chromosomal or genetic abnormalities. This chapter focuses on the fetal face anomalies more frequently found while performing the prenatal diagnosis. It is divided into anomalies of the orbits, nose, lip, palate, and mandible.
Part of the book: Congenital Anomalies