Determination of Ethnic Variation in Infant Nasolabial Anthropometry Using 3D Photographs: Implications for Bilateral Cleft Lip Nasal Correction

Cleft Palate Craniofac J. 2022 Jun;59(6):693-700. doi: 10.1177/10556656211024470. Epub 2021 Jun 16.


Objective: We aimed to assess significant ethnic variabilities in infants' nasolabial anthropometry to motivate variations in surgical correction of a synchronous bilateral cleft lip/nasal anomaly, specifically whether a long columella is a European feature, therefore accepting a short columella and/or delayed columellar lengthening suitable for reconstruction in ethnic patients.

Methods: Thirty-three infants without craniofacial pathology (10 African American [AA], 7 Hispanic [H], and 16 of European descent [C]), ages 3 to 8 months, presenting to the Johns Hopkins All Children's general pediatric clinic were recruited. Four separate 3D photographs (2 submental and frontal views each) were taken using the Vectra H1 handheld camera (Canfield Imaging). Eighteen linear facial distances were measured using Mirror 3D analysis (Canfield Imaging Systems). Difference between ethnicities was measured using analysis of variance with the Bonferroni/Dunn post hoc comparisons. Pearson correlation was employed for interrater reliability. All statistical analyses were carried out using SPSS version 21.0 (IBM Corp), with statistical significance set at P < .05.

Results: Nasal projection (sn-prn) and columella length (sn-c) did not differ significantly between groups (P = .9). Significant differences were seen between ethnic groups in nasal width (sbal-sbal [C-AA; P = .02]; ac-ac [C-AA; P = .00; H-AA; P = .04]; al-al [C-AA; P = .00; H-AA; P = .001]) and labial length (sn-ls [C-AA; P = .041]; sn-sto [C-AA; P = .005]; Cphs-Cphi L [C-AA; P = .013]; Cphs-Cphi R [C-AA; P = .015]). Interrater reliability was good to excellent and significantly correlated for all measures.

Conclusions: African American infants exhibited wider noses and longer lips. No difference was noted in nasal projection or columella length, indicating that these structures should be corrected during the primary cleft lip and nasal repair for all patients and should not be deferred to secondary correction.

Keywords: anatomy; anthropometry; craniofacial growth; facial growth; facial morphology; genetics; nasal morphology.

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry
  • Child
  • Cleft Lip* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cleft Lip* / surgery
  • Ethnicity
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Nasal Septum
  • Nose / abnormalities
  • Nose Diseases*
  • Reproducibility of Results