Three-Dimensional Imaging Techniques in the Assessment of Facial Volume Augmentation

December 2009 | Volume 8 | Issue 12 | Original Article | 1113 | Copyright © December 2009

Mitchel P. Goldman MD, Gregory R. Skover PhD, Gregory S. Payonk PhD

Demand for facial volume augmentation procedures is increasing, along with a growing appreciation for the importance of objective, quantitative measures of treatment success. This article reviews currently available three-dimensional (3D) imaging techniques and discusses their practical applications for cosmetic dermatology. X-ray–based imaging techniques can be costly, time-consuming and expose patients to the potential health risks of ionizing radiation. Conventional photographic techniques vary widely in quality. Standardized equipment, with controlled lighting, short exposure times, and high-resolution digital formats, provides high-quality, two-dimensional photographic images allowing accurate assessment of changes in facial features. These images can be reconstructed into 3D surfaces using stereophotogrammetric techniques, offering a major advance in measurement of changes. Although no system is ideal for use in routine clinical practice, stereophotogrammetry-based optical profilers provide acceptable surface quality and image overlays suitable for measurement and visual inspection. For research purposes, fringe projectors yield acceptable image overlays for quantitation of facial volume changes.