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Computer Imaging Assists With Facial Reconstructive Surgery

A new calibration technique that involves measuring the distance between the upper ear and chin in photographs could help facial plastic surgeons// use computer imaging software, according to a report.

“The importance of balanced facial proportions has been studied for centuries by architects, artists, physicians and dentists,” the authors write as background information in the article. It is essential for plastic surgeons to accurately analyze the face before surgery so that afterward, prominent facial features such as the chin and nose are balanced in relation to the structures around them. “Even a well-executed surgery will result in a poor aesthetic result if inaccurate analysis leads to an improper decision.”

Travis T. Tollefson, M.D., and Jonathan M. Sykes, M.D., of the University of California, Davis, Medical Center, Sacramento performed a photograph analysis and medical record review of 14 patients (average age 32, 12 females and two males) who underwent combined rhinoplasty (nose surgery) and chin correction at an academic medical center between 1999 and 2004. Six of the patients received implants in their chins, while eight underwent a procedure known as osseous genioplasty, involving surgery on the chin bone. Preoperative and postoperative photographs were analyzed and the distance from the porion (the top of the external ear canal) to the pupil and to the pogonion (the most prominent point on the chin) was measured. These measurements were used to develop a standard scale so that patients’ before and after photographs could be compared, even if they were not the same size.

Additionally, the following established measures were analyzed:

· Cervicomental angle: the intersection of a line drawn next to the neck and a line drawn from the bottom of the chin through the point where the neck and the jaw connect
· Mentocervical angle: the intersection of a line drawn from the tip of the nose to the chin and a
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