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J Craniofac Surg. 2013 Jul;24(4):1106-10. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0b013e31828dcdcb.

Comparative study of cranial anthropometric measurement by traditional calipers to computed tomography and three-dimensional photogrammetry.

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Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Institute, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis Children's Hospital, St Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


Craniofacial anthropometry by direct caliper measurements is a common method of quantifying the morphology of the cranial vault. New digital imaging modalities including computed tomography and three-dimensional photogrammetry are similarly being used to obtain craniofacial surface measurements. This study sought to compare the accuracy of anthropometric measurements obtained by calipers versus 2 methods of digital imaging.Standard anterior-posterior, biparietal, and cranial index measurements were directly obtained on 19 participants with an age range of 1 to 20 months. Computed tomographic scans and three-dimensional photographs were both obtained on each child within 2 weeks of the clinical examination. Two analysts measured the anterior-posterior and biparietal distances on the digital images. Measures of reliability and bias between the modalities were calculated and compared.Caliper measurements were found to underestimate the anterior-posterior and biparietal distances as compared with those of the computed tomography and the three-dimensional photogrammetry (P < 0.001). Cranial index measurements between the computed tomography and the calipers differed by up to 6%. The difference between the 2 modalities was statistically significant (P = 0.021). The biparietal and cranial index results were similar between the digital modalities, but the anterior-posterior measurement was greater with the three-dimensional photogrammetry (P = 0.002). The coefficients of variation for repeated measures based on the computed tomography and the three-dimensional photogrammetry were 0.008 and 0.007, respectively.In conclusion, measurements based on digital modalities are generally reliable and interchangeable. Caliper measurements lead to underestimation of anterior-posterior and biparietal values compared with digital imaging.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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