Introduction The assessment of facial growth has always had a relevant importance in anatomy and morphological sciences. This article aims at presenting a method of facial superimposition between 3D models which provides a topographic map of those facial areas modified by growth.
Methodology Eight children aged between 6 and 10 years were recruited. In December 2010 they underwent a 3D scan by the Vivid 910 laser scanner (Konica Minolta, Osaka, Japan). The same procedures were performed another five times, in June 2011, September 2011, January 2012 and September 2012; in total 6 analyses were performed on the same subjects in a time span of 21 months.
Three-dimensional digital models belonging to the same individual were then superimposed on each other according to 11 facial landmarks. Three comparisons were performed for each individual, referring to the period between December 2010 and June 2011, between June 2011 and January 2012 and between January and September 2012.
Results Results show that the protocol of superimposition gives a reliable image of facial growth with high sensibility: in detail, even the slight facial modifications due to different expressions are recorded. The method can also quantify the point-to-point difference between the two models, and therefore give an indication concerning the general increase or decrease of facial volume.
Conclusion This approach may provide useful indications for the analysis of facial growth on a large sample and give a new point of view of the complex field of face development.
Anatomy; Morphological Sciences; Facial Assessment; Facial Growth; Laser Scanner.