Proportionality in Asian and North American Caucasian faces using neoclassical facial canons as criteria

Aesthetic Plast Surg. Jan-Feb 2002;26(1):64-9. doi: 10.1007/s00266-001-0033-7.


Nine projective linear measurements were taken to determine morphometric differences of the face among healthy young adult Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thais (60 in each group) and to assess the validity of six neoclassical facial canons in these populations. In addition, the findings in the Asian ethnic groups were compared to the data of 60 North American Caucasians. The canons served as criteria for determining the differences between the Asians and Caucasians. In neither Asian nor Caucasian subjects were the three sections of the facial profile equal. The validity of the five other facial canons was more frequent in Caucasians (range: 16.7-36.7%) than in Asians (range: 1.7-26.7%). Horizontal measurement results were significantly greater in the faces of the Asians (en-en, al-al, zy-zy) than in their white counterparts; as a result, the variation between the classical proportions and the actual measurements was significantly higher among Asians (range: 90-100%) than Caucasians (range: 13.3-48%). The dominant characteristics of the Asian face were a wider intercanthal distance in relation to a shorter palpebral fissure, a much wider soft nose within wide facial contours, a smaller mouth width, and a lower face smaller than the forehead height. In the absence of valid anthropometric norms of craniofacial measurements and proportion indices, our results, based on quantitative analysis of the main vertical and horizontal measurements of the face, offers surgeons guidance in judging the faces of Asian patients in preparation for corrective surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group*
  • China / ethnology
  • European Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Face / anatomy & histology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • North America
  • Singapore / ethnology
  • Thailand / ethnology
  • Vietnam / ethnology