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Plast Reconstr Surg. 1985 Mar;75(3):328-38.

Vertical and horizontal proportions of the face in young adult North American Caucasians: revision of neoclassical canons.


The validity of nine neoclassical formulas of facial proportions was tested in a group of 153 young adult North American Caucasians. Age-related qualities were investigated in six of the nine canons in 100 six-year-old, 105 twelve-year-old, and 103 eighteen-year-old healthy subjects divided equally between the sexes. The two canons found to be valid most often in young adults were both horizontal proportions (interorbital width equals nose width in 40 percent and nose width equals 1/4 face width in 37 percent). The poorest correspondences are found in the vertical profile proportions, showing equality of no more than two parts of the head and face. Sex does not influence the findings significantly, but age-related differences were observed. Twenty-four variations derived from three vertical profile, four horizontal facial, and two nasoaural neoclassical canons were identified in the group of young adults. For each of the new proportions, the mean absolute and relative differences were calculated. The absolute differences were greater between the facial profile sections (vertical canons) and smaller between the horizontally oriented facial proportions. This study shows a large variability in size of facial features in a normal face. While some of the neoclassical canons may fit a few cases, they do not represent the average facial proportions and their interpretation as a prescription for ideal facial proportions must be tested.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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