Neck fold measurement (Nuchal Transluency, NT)
This relatively new indication of a hereditary disorder is checked during the ultrasound examination between the 11th and 14th week. The unborn child should be at least 38 millimeters long (crown-rump length). The examination requires experience, a good ultrasound machine and maximum magnification. At this stage of development, it is normal to see a thin fluid cushion in the neck (black stripe, thickness marked by a small red line). However, if the nuchal translucency (NT) is thicker than 3.5 millimeters (see right image), this indicates a problem with lymphatic drainage and is suspicious for a genetic disorder or malformation.
PROCEDURE FOR NT OF 2.5 MM AND MORE (5% OF PREGNANT WOMEN)
If nuchal translucency is conspicuous, further clarification of the genetic material by amniocentesis or chorionic biopsy is recommended (see next but one chapter). A nuchal translucency of 2.5 - 3.4 mm corresponds to a gray zone with a slightly increased risk (see table of risk figures), while a nuchal translucency of 3.5 mm and more (in 1% of all pregnant women) should be clarified in any case.
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