COSMIN database

Methods to quantify soft-tissue based facial growth and treatment outcomes in children: a systematic review

Brons, S., van Beusichem, M. E., Bronkhorst, E. M., Draaisma, J., Berge, S. J., Maal, T. J., and Kuijpers-Jagtman, A. M.
CONTEXT: Technological advancements have led craniofacial researchers and clinicians into the era of three-dimensional digital imaging for quantitative evaluation of craniofacial growth and treatment outcomes.

OBJECTIVE: To give an overview of soft-tissue based methods for quantitative longitudinal assessment of facial dimensions in children until six years of age and to assess the reliability of these methods in studies with good methodological quality.

DATA SOURCE: PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, Scopus and CINAHL were searched. A hand search was performed to check for additional relevant studies.

STUDY SELECTION: Primary publications on facial growth and treatment outcomes in children younger than six years of age were included.

DATA EXTRACTION: Independent data extraction by two observers. A quality assessment instrument was used to determine the methodological quality. Methods, used in studies with good methodological quality, were assessed for reliability expressed as the magnitude of the measurement error and the correlation coefficient between repeated measurements.

RESULTS: In total, 47 studies were included describing 4 methods: 2D x-ray cephalometry; 2D photography; anthropometry; 3D imaging techniques (surface laser scanning, stereophotogrammetry and cone beam computed tomography). In general the measurement error was below 1 mm and 1 degrees and correlation coefficients range from 0.65 to 1.0.

CONCLUSION: Various methods have shown to be reliable. However, at present stereophotogrammetry seems to be the best 3D method for quantitative longitudinal assessment of facial dimensions in children until six years of age due to its millisecond fast image capture, archival capabilities, high resolution and no exposure to ionizing radiation.
PLoS One
1932-6203 (Electronic)
Publication year:
Biological and physiological variables:
Biological and physiological variables
Children (0-18)
Codes for special purposes
Diseases of and symptoms related to the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue
PRO / non-PRO:
Non-patient Reported Outcome
Type of measurement instrument:
6 - Clinical rating scales
7 - Observations
8 - Imaging tests
9 - Laboratory tests
2D photography
2D photo with X-RAY
3D stereophotogrammetry
CBCT - Cone Beam Computed Tomography
Laser Scanner [alias: Surface laser scanning]