Ultrasound of the Placenta: A Systematic Approach. Part I: Imaging

J. S. Abramowicz, E. Sheiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Diagnostic ultrasound has been in use in clinical obstetrics for close to half-a-century. However, in the literature, examination of the placenta appears to be treated with less attention than the fetus or the pregnant uterus. This is somewhat unexpected, given the obvious major functions this organ performs during the entire pregnancy. Examination of the placenta plays a foremost role in the assessment of normal and abnormal pregnancies. A methodical sonographic evaluation of the placenta should include: location, visual estimation of the size (and, if appearing abnormal, measurement of thickness and/or volume), implantation, morphology, anatomy, as well as a search for anomalies, such as additional lobes and tumors. Additional assessment for multiple gestations consists of examining the intervening membranes (if present). The current review considers the various placental characteristics, as they can be evaluated by ultrasound, and the clinical significance of abnormalities of these features. Numerous and varied pathologies of the placenta can be detected by routine ultrasound. It is incumbent on the clinician performing obstetrical ultrasound to examine the placenta in details and in a methodical fashion because of the far reaching clinical significance and potentially avoidable severe consequences of many of these abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-240
Number of pages16
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D ultrasound
  • Complications
  • Fetus
  • Placenta
  • Pregnancy
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Developmental Biology


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