Testing & Diagnosis for Ventriculomegaly in Children

The Neonatal and Congenital Anomaly Neurosurgery Program at Boston Children’s Hospital was created to diagnose ventriculomegaly and other neurologic congenital anomalies as early as possible. We know that an early and accurate diagnosis  gives newborns the chance for optimal treatment and recovery. As always, we will be in close communication with you and your family every step of the way.

How is ventriculomegaly diagnosed?

Ventriculomegaly can be detected during pregnancy, on prenatal tests, or after the baby is born.

Prenatal tests

The different types of prenatal tests used to diagnose ventriculomegaly include:

  • Fetal ultrasounds are used to diagnose hydrocephalus as well as other conditions when a baby is still in the womb. This diagnostic imaging technique uses high-frequency sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues and organs. The evaluation provides general information about the size and position of fetal organs and how they are functioning. We perform fetal imaging services for pregnant women who are referred to the Advanced Fetal Care Center (AFCC) at Boston Children’s.
  • Amniocentesis, a prenatal diagnostic method in which a needle is inserted through the mother’s abdomen and into the amniotic sac that surrounds the baby. Amniocentesis is most often used to detect chromosomal abnormalities, which fetuses with ventriculomegaly might have. This test is usually done in the second trimester.

Testing after birth

The following tests can be used to diagnose hydrocephalus in infants and older children who have ventriculomegaly:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This imaging procedure uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies and a computer to produce detailed images of the brain without exposing the child to x-rays.

What should I do after my unborn child is diagnosed with ventriculomegaly?

Once the imaging studies are completed, radiologists in the Advanced Fetal Care Center (AFCC) at Children’s will review them with a team of nursing staff and pediatric specialists.

Following this review, you will meet with the members of the multidisciplinary team to go over the results, discuss what the findings mean for the fetus for the remainder of the pregnancy and review expected outcomes after birth related to surgery, hospitalization and long-term health. During this time, you will also have the opportunity to review the images and ask questions.

To schedule an appointment or consultation at the Advanced Fetal Care Center, please use our online request form or contact us at:

Phone:  617-355-6512 or 1-866-FETALCARE

Email: afcc@childrens.harvard.edu