Multi-detector row CT for depicting anatomic features of cephalothoracopagus varieties: revised approach.

Roberto Grassi, Vincenzo Esposito, Mariano Scaglione, Mario Cirillo, Salvatore Cappabianca, Giuseppe Guglielmi, Francesco Silvano Sasso, Antonio Rotondo

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Conjoined twins can be classified on the basis of the site of union; thus, three main types can be described: (a) ventral union, (b) dorsal union, and (c) rarer forms of union. Ventral union is characterized by the fusion of the two embryos on the ventral side (eg, the abdomen). Dorsal union twins are joined on the dorsal aspect (eg, the vertebral column or occipital bone). Ventral union twins include the group of crucipage twins (ventral midline structures at 90 degrees to the dorsal midline structures), which show interesting features in the organization of the midline. Twins conjoined at the head and chest are called cephalothoracopagus twins. The cephalothoracopagus variety called "Janus" is characterized by the presence of two opposite faces, which are composite structures half of which belong to one twin and half to the other. A complete set of five variants of cephalothoracopagus is presented and, to the authors' knowledge, analyzed for the first time with multi-detector row helical computed tomography. This modality is an invaluable tool for obtaining high-resolution images of the brain, chest, abdomen, and spine and for demonstrating organ position, shared viscera, and limited vascular anatomy. In addition, data acquired in three-dimensional volumes can further be manipulated and then reconstructed. For this purpose, the authors developed dedicated software for three-dimensional reconstruction to analyze data from specimens preserved in formalin. The anatomic findings are discussed here for their embryologic value and to revise the classification of cephalothoracopagus twins. These data offer detailed information for accurate comprehension of imaging studies and for theoretical studies concerning the formation of several anatomic structures. Copyright RSNA, 2004

Original languageEnglish
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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