All women, regardless of their age have a small risk of delivering a baby with a chromosomal abnormality such as Down syndrome. Nuchal translucency assessments can assess the individual risk for each expectant mother (i.e. 1 in 100 chance of a chromosomal abnormality). This information can determine whether or not further investigation is required. Nuchal translucencies have shown to identify around 80% of all Downs syndrome cases. The examination is designed to give parents the information in which to make their own decisions on what to do should the risk of abnormalities be high.
Nuchal Translucencies can be performed between 11-14 weeks of pregnancy. We recommend that for the most accurate results to be obtained, the optimum time is 12 weeks from the first day of your last period.
Nuchal Translucencies can only be performed by specialist Sonographers accredited by the Foetal Medicine Foundation. All X-Ray & Imaging Sonographers have extensive ultrasound experience.
Information such as mother’s age and family medical history can be used to produce a background risk figure which is normally determined before the examination. During the examination an ultrasound of the foetus is performed (see obstetric ultrasound) in which a small fluid filled space at the back of the neck known as the Nuchal Translucency is measured. Studies show that a foetus with increased Nuchal Translucency thickness has a much higher risk of being born with a chromosomal abnormality. The Nuchal Translucency thickness along with the background information on the mother is combined to produce an adjusted risk.
A Nuchal Translucency examination is the same as a normal obstetric ultrasound, the only difference being the detail in which the results are assessed.
At the end of your Nuchal Translucency you will have a figure which expresses your personal risk of having a foetus with a chromosomal abnormality such as Downs syndrome. This should then be discussed with your doctor. You will also have a film of the images taken of your foetus.
Yes. There are several things you are required to do before your nuchal translucency assessment. You are required to have a blood test performed within 48 hours of your examination. This will be arranged by your doctor at the time of getting your Nuchal Translucency referral. To ensure accurate images you should have a full bladder for this examination. An hour and a half before your appointment, you should start drinking a litre of water and hold it until after your examination if possible.
Medicare does allow partial bulk billing on nuchal translucency, however there are very strict conditions whereby one of the following clinical indications must be displayed: Hyperemesis, hypertension, liver or renal disease, high risk pregnancy, uncertain dates, previous caesarean section, abdominal pain or mass, significant maternal obesity, suspected or known cervical incompetence, previous post dates delivery, advanced maternal age, poor obstetric history, suspicion of ectopic pregnancy, thrombophilia, previous spinal or pelvic trauma or disease, pregnancy after assisted reproduction, diabetes mellitus, risk of miscarriage, toxaemia of pregnancy, suspected or known uterine abnormality, autoimmune disease, risk of foetal abnormality, bowel stoma, abdominal wall scarring, cardiac disease, maternal infection, inflammatory bowel disease, diminished symptoms of pregnancy, alloimmunisation, or drug dependency.
Yes. Ultrasound appointments are often booked several days in advance so you should arrange your appointment as soon as possible in order to have your assessment performed at the optimum time of 12 weeks since the first day of your last period.