Three-Dimensional Imaging of the Face: A Comparison Between Three Different Imaging Modalities

Aesthet Surg J. 2018 May 15;38(6):579-585. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjx227.


Background: Three-dimensional (3D) imaging of the face is being used extensively in medicine for clinical decision making, surgical planning, and research. Nowadays, several companies are offering a broad range of 3D imaging systems, varying in price, method, and mobility. However, most planning and evaluation methods are created and validated solely with one imaging system. Therefore, it is important to analyze possible differences in the 3D surface reconstruction between different systems.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to analyze differences in the 3D surface reconstruction between three systems: 3dMDface system, Vectra XT, and Artec Eva.

Methods: Three-dimensional images of the face were acquired from 15 healthy patients with each imaging system. Reproducibility of each device was calculated and a comparison of the Vectra XT and Artec Eva with the 3dMDface was made.

Results: All 3D imaging devices showed high reproducibility, with a mean difference of 0.18 ± 0.15 mm (3dMDface system), 0.15 ± 0.15 mm (Vectra XT), and 0.26 ± 0.24 mm (Artec Eva). No significant difference in reproducibility was found between the Vectra XT and 3dMDface, while a significant difference was found between 3dMDface and Artec Eva, and between Vectra XT and Artec Eva. The mean difference between 3dMDface and Vectra XT was 0.32 ± 0.26 mm. The mean difference between 3dMDface and Artec Eva was 0.44 ± 1.09 mm.

Conclusions: All three imaging devices showed high reproducibility and accuracy. Although the Artec Eva showed a significant lower reproducibility, the difference found was not clinically relevant. Therefore, using these different systems alongside each other in clinical and research settings is possible.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Face / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / instrumentation
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results