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Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2008 Jul;37(7):641-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ijom.2008.04.012. Epub 2008 Jun 9.

The accuracy of matching three-dimensional photographs with skin surfaces derived from cone-beam computed tomography.

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  • 13D Facial Imaging Research Group Nijmegen-Bruges, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


The state-of-the-art diagnostic tools in oral and maxillofacial surgery and preoperative orthodontic treatment are mainly two-dimensional, and consequently reveal limitations in describing the three-dimensional (3D) structures of a patient's face. New 3D imaging techniques, such as 3D stereophotogrammetry (3D photograph) and cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT), have been introduced. Image fusion, i.e. registration of a 3D photograph upon a CBCT, results in an accurate and photorealistic digital 3D data set of a patient's face. The purpose of this study was to determine the accuracy of three different matching procedures. For 15 individuals the textured skin surface (3D photograph) and untextured skin surface (CBCT) were matched by two observers using three different methods to determine the accuracy of registration. The registration error was computed as the difference (mm) between all points of both surfaces. The registration errors were relatively large at the lateral neck, mouth and around the eyes. After exclusion of artefact regions from the matching process, 90% of the error was within+/-1.5 mm. The remaining error was probably caused by differences in head positioning, different facial expressions and artefacts during image acquisition. In conclusion, the 3D data set provides an accurate and photorealistic digital 3D representation of a patient's face.

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