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Tuesday, 30 January, 2001, 08:54 GMT
Scan reveals baby's face
Scan BBC
The scanner produces clear images
A hi-tech scanner can produce clear images of an unborn baby's face.

The 3D ultrasound scanner will offer doctors a better way of spotting pre-birth abnormalities.

Developers Siemens also hope the machine will help to promote closer bonds between parents and their children.


Incredibly detailed images of the unborn foetus can now be readily available at the patient's bedside

Dr Rose de Bryn, Great Ormond Street Hospital
Dr Rose de Bryn, from Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London, UK, said: "With faster computing, improved image processing and visualisation tools, parents will now be able to see detail that was previously difficult to appreciate in two dimensions.

"Incredibly detailed images of the unborn foetus can now be readily available at the patient's bedside using these imaging techniques."

Better treatment

Doctors using the scanner will be able to view the images almost instantly.

Abnormalities such as foetal tumours, spina bifida, and cleft lips or palates can all be seen more easily using the 3D scanner than with a traditional ultrasound.

The clarity of the images will also allow doctors to apply treatments earlier than they could before. The scanners cost between 120,000 and 140,000 depending on specifications.

One has already been installed at Great Ormond Street and others are on order for Guy's and St Thomas's hospitals in London.

Richard Kirby, ultrasound manager for Siemens, said: "The 3D scanner will touch the lives of parents and give the medical profession access to a diagnostic tool which will significantly improve their ability to detect and treat abnormalities before birth."

See also:

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