Bone and Joint Institute

Application of a Novel Semi-Automatic Technique for Determining the Bilateral Symmetry Plane of the Facial Skeleton of Normal Adult Males

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Journal of Craniofacial Surgery





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Copyright © 2015 by Mutaz B. Habal, MD. The accurate assessment of symmetry in the craniofacial skeleton is important for cosmetic and reconstructive craniofacial surgery. Although there have been several published attempts to develop an accurate system for determining the correct plane of symmetry, all are inaccurate and time consuming. Here, the authors applied a novel semi-automatic method for the calculation of craniofacial symmetry, based on principal component analysis and iterative corrective point computation, to a large sample of normal adult male facial computerized tomography scans obtained clinically (n=32). The authors hypothesized that this method would generate planes of symmetry that would result in less error when one side of the face was compared to the other than a symmetry plane generated using a plane defined by cephalometric landmarks. When a threedimensional model of one side of the face was reflected across the semi-automatic plane of symmetry there was less error than when reflected across the cephalometric plane. The semi-automatic plane was also more accurate when the locations of bilateral cephalometric landmarks (eg, frontozygomatic sutures) were compared across the face. The authors conclude that this method allows for accurate and fast measurements of craniofacial symmetry. This has important implications for studying the development of the facial skeleton, and clinical application for reconstruction.

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