Objective quantification of subjective parameters in scars by use of a portable stereophotographic system

Ann Plast Surg. 2011 Dec;67(6):641-5. doi: 10.1097/SAP.0b013e3182380877.


Introduction: Current evaluation of scars predominantly relies on subjective evaluation and lacks objective evidence for quantification of therapeutic outcomes by methods suitable for application in daily clinical practice. The aim of this study was to analyze 3-dimensional parameters obtained by use of a portable stereophotographic system in conjunction with subjective clinical findings.

Methods: After validation of the stereophotographic system on plastic scar molds (n = 20), we analyzed subjective evaluations of patients' own, and lay and expert observers by a visual analog scale, and compared the findings for volume and surface irregularity to the objectively calculated values during follow-up of selected scars.

Results: Setup and image acquisition took 8 ± 2 seconds. Volumetric parameters highly correlated with real values (R2 = 0.9678). Expert's subjective evaluations were confirmed for volumetric calculations in 5 of 6 sample scars, but only in 2 of 6 for surface irregularity.

Discussion: Portable stereophotography can be used in a clinical setting and retains 3-dimensional features in digital reconstructions for subjective assessments, while simultaneously acquiring objective parameters. The objective parameters enabled to complement or even replace subjective clinical findings, and this method proved to be useful for follow-up of therapeutic outcomes in scars.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cicatrix / pathology*
  • Dermatology / instrumentation*
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Photography / instrumentation*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Statistics, Nonparametric