Retronasal triangle: a sonographic landmark for the screening of cleft palate in the first trimester.Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Jan; 35(1):7-13.UO
To describe a new first-trimester sonographic landmark, the retronasal triangle, which may be useful in the early screening for cleft palate.
The retronasal triangle, i.e. the three echogenic lines formed by the two frontal processes of the maxilla and the palate visualized in the coronal view of the fetal face posterior to the nose, was evaluated prospectively in 100 consecutive normal fetuses at the time of routine first-trimester sonographic screening at 11 + 0 to 13 + 6 weeks' gestation. In a separate study of five fetuses confirmed postnatally as having a cleft palate, ultrasound images, including multiplanar three-dimensional views, were analyzed retrospectively to review the retronasal triangle.
None of the fetuses evaluated prospectively was affected by cleft lip and palate. During their first-trimester scan, the retronasal triangle could not be identified in only two fetuses. Reasons for suboptimal visualization of this area included early gestational age at scanning (11 weeks) and persistent posterior position of the fetal face. Of the five cases with postnatal diagnosis of cleft palate, an abnormal configuration of the retronasal triangle was documented in all cases on analysis of digitally stored three-dimensional volumes.
This study demonstrates the feasibility of incorporating evaluation of the retronasal triangle into the routine evaluation of the fetal anatomy at 11 + 0 to 13 + 6 weeks' gestation. Because fetuses with cleft palate have an abnormal configuration of the retronasal triangle, focused examination of the midface, looking for this area at the time of the nuchal translucency scan, may facilitate the early detection of cleft palate in the first trimester.