Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 297–304 | Cite as

Validity of the 3D VECTRA photogrammetric surface imaging system for cranio-maxillofacial anthropometric measurements

  • Philipp Metzler
  • Yi Sun
  • Wolfgang Zemann
  • Alexander Bartella
  • Marc Lehner
  • Joachim Anton Obwegeser
  • Astrid L. Kruse-Gujer
  • Heinz-Theo Lübbers
Original Article



The use of three-dimensional (3D) photography for anthropometric measurements is of increasing interest, especially in the cranio-maxillofacial field. Before standard implementation, accurate determination of the precision and accuracy of each system is mandatory.


A mannequin head was labelled with 52 landmarks, and 28 three-dimensional images were taken using a commercially available five-pod 3D photosystem (3D VECTRA; Canfield, Fairfield, NJ) in different head positions. Distances between the landmarks were measured manually using a conventional calliper and compared with the digitally calculated distances acquired from labelling by two independent observers. The experimental set-up accounted for clinical circumstances by varying the positioning (vertical, horizontal, sagittal) of the phantom.


In the entire calliper measurement data set (n = 410), a significant difference (p = 0.02) between the directly measured and corresponding virtually calculated distances was found. The mean aberration between both modalities covering all data was 7.96 mm. No differences (p = 0.94) between the two groups were found using a cut-off of 10 % (leaving n = 369 distances) due to considerable errors in direct measurements and the necessary manual data translation. The mean diversity of both measurement modalities after cut-off was 1.33 mm (maximum, 6.70 mm). Inter-observer analysis of all 1,326 distances showed no difference (p = 0.99; maximal difference, 0.58 mm) in the digital measurements.


The precision and accuracy of this five-pod 3D photosystem suggests its suitability for clinical applications, particularly anthropometric studies. Three-hundred-and-sixty degree surface-contour mapping of the craniofacial region within milliseconds is particularly useful in paediatric patients. Proper patient positioning is essential for high-quality imaging.


3D Three-dimensional Photography Photometry Anthropometric Accuracy Validation 



The authors would like to thank Philippe Halioua for taking of photographs.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philipp Metzler
    • 1
  • Yi Sun
    • 2
    • 3
  • Wolfgang Zemann
    • 1
  • Alexander Bartella
    • 1
  • Marc Lehner
    • 1
  • Joachim Anton Obwegeser
    • 1
  • Astrid L. Kruse-Gujer
    • 1
  • Heinz-Theo Lübbers
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cranio-Maxillofacial and Oral SurgeryUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Oral and Maxillofacial SurgerySt. John’s HospitalGenkBelgium
  3. 3.Faculty of MedicineHasselt UniversityDiepenbeekBelgium

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