Volume 35, Issue 7, July 2006, Pages 636-642
Automatic extraction of the mid-facial plane for cranio-maxillofacial surgery planning
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Recently developed computer applications provide tools for planning cranio-maxillofacial interventions based on 3-dimensional (3D) virtual models of the patient’s skull obtained from computed-tomography (CT) scans. Precise knowledge of the location of the mid-facial plane is important for the assessment of deformities and for planning reconstructive procedures. In this work, a new method is presented to automatically compute the mid-facial plane on the basis of a surface model of the facial skeleton obtained from CT. The method matches homologous surface areas selected by the user on the left and right facial side using an iterative closest point optimization. The symmetry plane which best approximates this matching transformation is then computed. This new automatic method was evaluated in an experimental study. The study included experienced and inexperienced clinicians defining the symmetry plane by a selection of landmarks. This manual definition was systematically compared with the definition resulting from the new automatic method: Quality of the symmetry planes was evaluated by their ability to match homologous areas of the face. Results show that the new automatic method is reliable and leads to significantly higher accuracy than the manual method when performed by inexperienced clinicians. In addition, the method performs equally well in difficult trauma situations, where key landmarks are unreliable or absent. © 2006 International Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.
computer aided; cranio-maxillofacial; mid-facial; mid-sagittal; plane; skull; surgery; symmetry