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Forensic Sci Int. 2013 May 10;228(1-3):180.e1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2013.02.003. Epub 2013 Feb 28.

Morphometry of the soft tissues of the orbital region in Northern Sudanese persons.

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Functional Anatomy Research Center (FARC), Laboratorio di Anatomia Funzionale dell'Apparato Stomatognatico (LAFAS), Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche per la Salute, Facoltà di Medicina e Chirurgia, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano, Italy.


The orbital region plays a predominant role in the evaluation of the craniofacial complex. No current normative data exist for Northern Sudanese subjects. In the current study information about normal sex- and age-related dimensions of the orbital region was provided. The three-dimensional coordinates of ten landmarks on the orbital soft tissues were obtained using a hand-held laser scanner in 654 healthy Northern Sudanese subjects aged 4-30 years. From the landmarks, biocular and intercanthal widths, paired height and inclination of the orbit relative to both the true horizontal (head in natural head position) and Frankfurt plane, length and inclination of the eye fissure, the relevant ratios, were calculated, and averaged for age and sex. Comparisons were performed by factorial analysis of variance. All analysed linear soft-tissue orbital dimensions, except intercanthal width and left orbital height, were significantly larger in men than in women (p<0.01). A significant sexual dimorphism was found also for the height-to-width ratios (larger in women in most age groups), the orbital inclinations vs. the true horizontal and Frankfurt plane (both measurements were almost always larger in men than in women), and the right side inclination of the eye fissure vs. the true horizontal (larger in women than in men), while no sex-related differences were observed for the left side inclination of the eye fissure vs. the true horizontal. All measurements but the right side inclination of the eye fissure vs. the true horizontal underwent significant modifications as a function of age, with several significant age×sex interactions. Biocular and intercanthal widths, orbital height, length of the eye fissure, all increased from childhood to young adulthood; in the second decade of life all age-related increments were larger in men than in women. Overall, when compared to literature data for African and Caucasoid subjects, several differences were found, pointing to the necessity of ethnic-specific data. Data collected in the present investigation could serve as a database for the quantitative description of human orbital morphology during normal growth and development. Forensic applications (evaluations of traumas, craniofacial alterations, teratogenic-induced conditions, facial reconstruction, ageing of living and dead people, personal identification) may also benefit from age- and sex-based data banks.

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