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Ultrasound examinations during pregnancy play a crucial role in monitoring fetal development and identifying potential health concerns. Among the various measurements taken during ultrasound scans, nuchal translucency (NT) and nasal bone (NB) measurements hold significant importance. These measurements provide valuable insights into the well-being of the developing fetus and aid in identifying certain chromosomal abnormalities.

Nuchal Translucency (NT) Measurement: Nuchal translucency refers to the fluid-filled space at the back of the fetal neck. During the first trimester of pregnancy, typically between weeks 11 and 14, ultrasound technicians measure the thickness of this translucent area. An increased NT measurement can be an indicator of certain chromosomal conditions such as Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome, or Patau syndrome. However, it’s important to note that an increased NT measurement does not definitively diagnose a condition; rather, it indicates the need for further diagnostic tests.

Nasal Bone (NB) Measurement: The nasal bone is a small, calcified structure located at the bridge of the fetal nose. Its absence or underdevelopment can sometimes be associated with an increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities. The presence of a visible nasal bone during an ultrasound scan is generally a positive sign, indicating a lower likelihood of certain chromosomal conditions. However, the absence of the nasal bone doesn’t necessarily confirm a problem and should be considered alongside other factors.

Combined Screening Tests: NT and NB measurements are often used in combination with other factors, such as maternal age and blood test results, to perform combined screening tests for chromosomal abnormalities. These tests help estimate the risk of the fetus having conditions like Down syndrome. If the risk is deemed elevated, further diagnostic tests like chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis may be recommended for a more definitive diagnosis.

Counseling and Informed Decision-Making: Receiving the results of NT and NB measurements can be an emotional experience for expectant parents. It’s essential to provide comprehensive genetic counseling to help parents understand the implications of the measurements and the potential next steps. Genetic counselors can explain the significance of the results, discuss available testing options, and support informed decision-making based on the family’s values and preferences.


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