Asymmetry index for the photogrammetric assessment of facial asymmetry

Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 2022 Sep;162(3):394-402. doi: 10.1016/j.ajodo.2021.04.030. Epub 2022 May 11.


Introduction: Facial asymmetry is common and can be clinically related to dental malocclusion, facial bone development, muscular imbalance, and soft tissues thickness, which should be assessed during diagnosis to choose proper treatment options. This study aimed to quantify the amount of symmetry/asymmetry in previously defined symmetrical and asymmetrical subjects, analyzing full-face 3-dimensional images.

Methods: Seventy-six orthodontic patients' 3-dimensional face images were obtained with the 3dMD Trio-system (Atlanta, Ga) and processed with the Geomagic Control (64-bit; 3D Systems, Rock Hill, SC) software. Patients were divided into symmetrical and asymmetrical groups through a surface-based technique. Sixteen facial landmarks were positioned, an asymmetry index was calculated for each landmark, and an evaluation diagram of facial asymmetry was created through the asymmetry index mean and standard deviation of symmetrical and asymmetrical landmarks.

Results: The asymmetry index mean varied from 0.05 to 1.51 in the symmetrical group and from 0.05 to 2.84 in the asymmetrical group. This study suggests that landmarks located in the lower third of the face have a greater asymmetry index than other landmarks.

Conclusions: The landmark-based technique does not exhibit statistically significant differences among asymmetrical and symmetrical patients for some landmarks. This approach provides useful information about the localization and the extension of asymmetry, in which bilateral landmarks showed a higher amount of asymmetry than median landmarks.

MeSH terms

  • Anatomic Landmarks
  • Cephalometry
  • Facial Asymmetry* / diagnostic imaging
  • Facial Bones
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods
  • Photogrammetry* / methods
  • Software