Comprehensive Guide to NT [Nuchal Translucency] Scan: What Is It and Why Is It Done?

Comprehensive Guide to NT [Nuchal Translucency] Scan: What Is It and Why Is It Done?

Pregnancy is a time filled with anticipation, excitement, and questions. As expectant parents, you want to ensure the health and well-being of your developing baby. One crucial step in this journey is the NT scan, also known as the nuchal translucency scan.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what the NT scan is, why it’s done, and what to expect during the procedure.

What is an NT Scan?

An NT scan is a specialized prenatal screening test typically performed between the 11th and 14th week of pregnancy. NT stands for nuchal translucency, which refers to the clear space at the back of the baby’s neck.

During the scan, an ultrasound technician uses high-frequency sound waves to measure this space, specifically the thickness of the nuchal translucency.

Why is an NT Scan Done?

The primary purpose of an NT scan is to assess the risk of chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus, particularly Down syndrome (trisomy 21), Edwards syndrome (trisomy 18), and Patau syndrome (trisomy 13).

Here’s why this scan is important:

  1. Early Detection: The NT scan is one of the earliest prenatal screening tests available. Detecting potential issues early in pregnancy allows parents and healthcare providers to make informed decisions and plan for appropriate care.
  2. Risk Assessment: The measurement of nuchal translucency thickness, along with maternal age and other factors, helps calculate the risk of these chromosomal abnormalities. If the risk is higher than average, additional tests like amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS) may be recommended for a more definitive diagnosis.
  3. Informed Choices: Armed with information from the NT scan, expectant parents can make informed decisions about their pregnancy and prepare for the potential challenges that may arise.

What to Expect During an NT Scan

The NT scan is a non-invasive and painless procedure that typically takes around 20-30 minutes. Here’s what you can expect:

  1. Preparation: You may be asked to have a full bladder, as this can help provide a clearer view of the baby during the ultrasound.
  2. Ultrasound: You will lie down on an examination table, and a clear, water-based gel will be applied to your abdomen to aid in conducting the ultrasound waves. The technician will use a handheld device called a transducer to capture images of your baby.
  3. Measurement: The technician will carefully measure the thickness of the nuchal translucency. A thicker measurement may indicate a higher risk of chromosomal abnormalities.
  4. Evaluation: The technician will also assess other factors, such as the baby’s nasal bone, to provide a more accurate risk assessment.
  5. Results: You may receive preliminary results immediately, but a more comprehensive risk assessment may require combining the NT scan findings with blood tests and maternal age. Your healthcare provider will discuss the results with you and explain what they mean for your pregnancy.

Risks and Considerations

It’s essential to understand that the NT scan is a screening test, not a diagnostic test.  In some cases, false positives or false negatives may occur, leading to unnecessary stress or missed conditions. Therefore, it’s crucial to weigh the benefits and limitations of the NT scan and discuss them with your healthcare provider.


The NT scan is a crucial component of prenatal care, assessing chromosomal abnormalities in the developing fetus. This early screening offers valuable insights for informed decision-making, benefiting both the baby and the expectant mother.

If you’re in the Ghatkopar West or Ghatkopar East area, Neptune Diagnostics Center is your trusted destination for NT scans. Our experienced professionals provide personalized guidance, ensuring the best care for your growing family. Remember, knowledge is power, and with Neptune Diagnostics Center, you have a reliable partner on your pregnancy journey.