To obtain the best surgical results in orthognathic surgery, treatment planning and the evaluation of results should be performed on measurable three-dimensional reproductions of the face of the patients, and compared to reference subjects.
Seven women aged 18–35 years, all with a skeletal Class III and mandibular asymmetry, were assessed both before (on average, 2 months) and after (on average, 10.7 months) surgical intervention (mandibular reduction by sagittal split osteotomy and LeFort I maxillary advancement). The three-dimensional coordinates of 50 soft tissue facial landmarks (face, eyes, nose, mouth and lips, ears) were collected with a noninvasive, electromagnetic digitizer; facial volumes were estimated, and compared to reference values collected in 87 healthy women of the same age and ethnic group. Inter-individual modifications in facial shape were also assessed.
Before surgery the patients had smaller faces than the reference women, with larger lower lips and noses. A large within-group variability was found. Surgical treatment significantly reduced total facial volume and mandibular volume, increased total and upper lip volumes (Student's t test, p<0.05), and made all values more homogenous within the group. Shape differences were significantly larger before than after surgery. On average, right side gonion was the landmark that moved the most, closely followed by menton, while the tragi and ala nasi moved the least.
The three-dimensional approach used in this study enabled quantitative evaluation of the final soft tissue results of surgery, without submitting the patients to invasive procedures.
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Published online: September 07, 2006
Accepted: June 9, 2006
Received: March 20, 2006
© 2006 British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.