Comparison of two-dimensional and three-dimensional images for phenotypic assessment of craniofacial microsomia

Craig B. Birgfeld*, Babette S. Saltzman, Daniela V. Luquetti, Kerry Latham, Jackie R. Starr, Carrie L. Heike

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: Three-dimensional surface imaging is used in many craniofacial centers. However, few data exist to indicate whether such systems justify their cost. Craniofacial microsomia is associated with wide phenotypic variability and can affect most facial features. The purpose of this study is to compare three-dimensional versus two-dimensional images for classification of facial features in individuals with craniofacial microsomia. Methods: We obtained a series of two-dimensional and three-dimensional images of 50 participants, aged 0-20 years, diagnosed with craniofacial microsomia, microtia, or Goldenhar syndrome. Three clinicians classified the craniofacial features on each image, and ratings were compared by calculating kappa statistics.We also evaluated image quality using a 5-point Likert scale. Results: Reliability estimates were high for most features using both two-dimensional and three-dimensional image data. Our three-dimensional protocol did not allow for scoring of facial animation, occlusal cant, or tongue anomalies. Image quality scores for the mandible and soft tissue assessment were higher for three-dimensional images. Raters preferred two-dimensional photographs for assessment of the ear, ear canal, and eyes. Conclusions: Both three-dimensional and two-dimensional images provide useful data for objective characterization of the craniofacial features affected in craniofacial microsomia. A series of two-dimensional images has relative advantages for assessment of some specific features, such as the ear, though three-dimensional images may have advantages for quantitative analysis and qualitative assessment of deformities of the jaw and soft tissue. These results should apply to any assessment of these features with or without a craniofacial microsomia diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-314
Number of pages10
JournalCleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D photography
  • Hemifacial microsomia
  • Photography


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