Radiating Hope: Radiology Department Blog


What to Expect When You’re Expecting

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Prenatal Imaging for Babies with Bladder Obstruction

When you enter the doors of Cincinnati Children’s, you expect to see children—from newborn babies to young adults. Look a little closer and you will see pregnant mothers coming for imaging of their babies even before they are born. In the Radiology Department, we use prenatal imaging to help diagnose potential problems while a fetus is still developing in the womb. Our Radiology staff is fortunate to work collaboratively with the Cincinnati Fetal Center, and doctors from Cincinnati Children’s, The University of Cincinnati Medical Center and Good Samaritan Hospital. This cooperative work brings together a network of physicians, nurses and technologists who specialize in diagnosing and treating a wide range of fetal conditions.

One of those conditions is bladder obstruction. This is caused by a blockage that prevents the bladder from emptying, and in turn, it becomes enlarged.  This condition may affect the kidneys; if the obstruction is severe enough in a developing baby, it can lead to decreased amniotic fluid around the unborn child. When the amniotic fluid is low, lung development can be damaged and that will affect the baby’s chances for survival after birth.

bladder obstruction us_blog20160523Image: Ultrasound image, full-term male, prenatally diagnosed with bladder outlet obstruction

What can moms-to-be expect on the day of prenatal imaging? Usually we perform an ultrasound as well as a fetal MRI. Both types of imaging are safe for both the baby and expectant mothers and give us a more complete understanding of the obstruction and any anatomy concerns or associated complications.

Our radiologists and technologists will strive to make you and your family comfortable during the imaging process. Thanks to this complete assessment the radiologists are able to provide the fetal surgeons, pediatric urologists and nephrologists, pediatric colorectal surgeons, neonatologists  and materno-fetal medicine specialists the most accurate information that will guide the counseling and best treatment options for our patients. Cincinnati Children’s radiology staff is very proud to be a part of this comprehensive care for mothers and babies experiencing complex fetal conditions.

Contributed by Dr. Maria A. Calvo-Garcia and edited by Michelle Gramke, (ADV TECH-ULT).

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About the author: Alex Towbin

Alex is a radiologist and the Neil D. Johnson Chair of Radiology Informatics. In this role, he helps to manage the information systems used by the Radiology department. Clinically, Alex is the Assistant Director of thoracoabdominal imaging. His research interests include liver disease, liver tumors, inflammatory bowel disease, and appendicitis.