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Three-dimensional methodology for photogrammetric acquisition of the soft tissues of the face: a new clinical-instrumental protocol

Roberto Deli1, Luigi M Galantucci2, Alberto Laino3, Raoul D’Alessio1, Eliana Di Gioia4*, Carmela Savastano5, Fulvio Lavecchia6 and Gianluca Percoco2

Author Affiliations

1 Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Roma, Rome 00198, Italy

2 Laboratorio di Prototipazione Rapida e Reverse Engineering, Dipartimento di Meccanica Matematica e Management, Politecnico di Bari, Bari 70126, Italy

3 Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Naples 80138, Italy

4 Studio Associato di Odontoiatria dei Dottori Di Gioia, Bari 70122, Italy

5 Studio di Odontoiatria Dottoressa Carmela Savastano, Florence 50121, Italy

6 Polishape 3D srl, Bari 70126, Italy

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Progress in Orthodontics 2013, 14:32  doi:10.1186/2196-1042-14-32

Published: 20 September 2013



The objective of this study is to define an acquisition protocol that is clear, precise, repeatable, simple, fast and that is useful for analysis of the anthropometric characteristics of the soft tissue of the face.


The analysis was carried out according to a new clinical-instrumental protocol that comprises four distinct phases: (1) setup of portable equipment in the space in which field analysis will be performed, (2) preparation of the subject and spatial positioning, (3) scanning of the subject with different facial expressions, and (4) treatment and processing of data. The protocol was tested on a sample comprising 66 female subjects (64 Caucasian, 1 Ethiopian, and 1 Brazilian) who were the finalists of an Italian national beauty contest in 2010. To illustrate the potential of the method, we report here the measurements and full analysis that were carried out on the facial model of one of the subjects who was scanned.


This new protocol for the acquisition of faces is shown to be fast (phase 1, about 1 h; phase 2, about 1.5 min; phase 3, about 1.5 min; phase 4, about 15 min), simple (phases 1 to 3 requiring a short operator training period; only phase 4 requires expert operators), repeatable (with direct palpation of anatomical landmarks and marking of their positions on the face, the problem of identification of these same landmarks on the digital model is solved), reliable and precise (average precision of measurements, 0.5 to 0.6 mm over the entire surface of the face).


This standardization allows the mapping of the subjects to be carried out following the same conditions in a reliable and fast process for all of the subjects scanned.

Photogrammetric face scanner; Anthropometry; Facial soft tissue; 3D measurements; Aesthetic analysis