Background Innovative imaging techniques, using up-to-date ultrasonic equipment, necessitate specific biometry. The aim of our study was to test the possibility of detailed human embryonic biometry using a virtual reality (VR) technique. Methods In a longitudinal study, three-dimensional (3D) measurements were performed from 6 to 14 weeks gestational age in 32 pregnancies (n = 16 spontaneous conception, n = 16 IVF/ICSI). A total of 125 3D volumes were analysed in the I-Space VR system, which allows binocular depth perception, providing a realistic 3D illusion. Crown-rump length (CRL), biparietal diameter (BPD), occipito-frontal diameter (OFD), head circumference (HC) and abdominal circumference (AC) were measured as well as arm length, shoulder width, elbow width, hip width and knee width. Result SCRL, BPD, OFD and HC could be measured in more than 96 of patients, and AC in 78. Shoulder width, elbow width, hip width and knee width could be measured in more than 95 of cases, and arm length in 82 of cases. Growth curves were constructed for all variables. Ear and foot measurements were only possible beyond 9 weeks gestation. Conclusions This study provides a detailed, longitudinal description of normal human embryonic growth, facilitated by a VR system. Growth curves were created for embryonic biometry of the CRL, BPD, HC and AC early in pregnancy and also of several 'new' biometric measurements. Applying virtual embryoscopy will enable us to diagnose growth and/or developmental delay earlier and more accurately. This is especially important for pregnancies at risk of severe complications, such as recurrent late miscarriage and early growth restriction.

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Keywords Biometrics, Crown-rump length, Embryo growth, Growth curves, Virtual reality
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Journal Human Reproduction
Note Free full text at PubMed
Verwoerd-Dikkeboom, C.M, Koning, A.H.J, Hop, W.C.J, van der Spek, P.J, Exalto, N, & Steegers-Theunissen, R.P.M. (2010). Innovative virtual reality measurements for embryonic growth and development. Human Reproduction, 25(6), 1404–1410. doi:10.1093/humrep/deq061