The gestational age of a fetus can be estimated in the period from 10 to 30 weeks by examining the histology of abdominal skin.
crowding of nuclei in basal cells with budding
accumulation of mesenchymal cells below the developing hair bud
elongation of hair follicles with new bud formation
sebaceous glands present, and hair shaft visible
eccrine gland buds with oval nuclei
elongation of mostly solid eccrine ducts
early coiling of eccrine glands with lumen
coiling of eccrine glands seen as multiple transverse sections
• The gestational age is given from the last menstrual period.
• In 379 fetuses the authors had 97% agreement with the actual gestational age.
• Advanced autolysis may limit the histologic examination.
• Congenital skin diseases may affect the interpretation.
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Specialty: Clinical Laboratory, Pedatrics