Computer-assisted stereological analysis of gastric volume during the human embryonic period

Enric Macarulla-Sanz, Josep Nebot-Cegarra, Francisco Reina D.E.L.A. Torre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Morphometric data concerning human embryos and fetuses have become more clinically informative since ultrasound was employed to make prenatal measurements and software preprocessing techniques improved the previous fuzzy ultrasound signals. The aim of this study was to determine the volume of the human stomach during the embryonic period and to compare its rate of growth with that during the early fetal period. To calculate gastric volume, computer imaging techniques were applied on cross sections of a graded series of human embryos (from Carnegie stage 11) and fetuses. Gastric volume increased progressively, except for a decrease between stages 12 and 13 due principally to the reduction of the right gastric wall. The growth of the left wall of the stomach was predominant over that of the right. Until stage 20 the stomach volume increased due to the predominant growth of the walls, after this stage the gastric cavity volume increased rapidly, and the rate of growth of the gastric volume reached similar values to that of the early fetal period. We concluded that in the beginning the human stomach grows due to the predominant growth of its walls, chiefly of the left, and from stage 20 because of the predominant expansion of its cavity, which may be related to the capacity to swallow amniotic fluid at the end of the embryonic period. The diminution of the right gastric wall volume (stages 12-13) is consistent with an extension of the omental bursa into the mesodermal anlage of the stomach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-401
JournalJournal of Anatomy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 1996


  • Gastric volume
  • Stereology
  • Stomach


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