A longitudinal study of facial growth in infants using a three-dimensional imaging technique
This study aimed to measure the facial morphology and growth of 100 infants in the West of Scotland from the age of 3 months to 2 years using a three dimensional imaging system, C3D. One of the aims of the study was to validate the use of the C3D system to measure facial morphology in infants. Further aims were to establish references values for facial dimensions in infants, to establish the normal growth of facial parameters from 3 months to 2 years, to correlate facial and body growth, to ascertain any sexual dimorphism, to establish the degree of facial asymmetry and to determine any longitudinal changes in facial asymmetry in infant’s faces. Eighty three infants at 3 months, 93 infants at 6 months, 91 infants at 1 year and 92 infants at 2 years were successfully captured with a lips apart pose. Reference values for facial dimensions in infants at these ages were established. Significant gender differences were found for most facial measurements at all ages with the males being larger than the females. These differences were greatest for face height, depths and widths with mean differences ranging from 1.7 to 4.0 mm. No gender differences were found in any of the angles measured. Several dimensions on the right side of the face were found to be significantly larger than the left. This was most marked for face depths with mean differences of 0.8 mm. The range of normal facial asymmetry scores was determined. No significant difference in asymmetry was found between the males and females. The upper face was found to be the most asymmetric region studied and the nostrils were the least asymmetric. Correlation of facial measurements with body dimensions found weak but significant correlations with the highest correlation coefficient of 0.69 between face depth and body weight. Nasal tip protrusion, nostril dimensions and lip heights were not correlated with body dimensions. Seventy one infants, 37 males and 34 females, were successfully captured at all four ages with the lips apart and were included in the longitudinal analysis. The longitudinal changes in facial parameters were established from 3 months to 2 years and mean growth curves produced. The fastest growth was found from 3 to 6 months and the slowest from 1 to 2 years. There were no correlation between growth of the face and growth in body weight, length and head circumference. Significant reductions in the overall facial asymmetry score were found from 3 months to 2 years. The clinical significance of this reduction is still to be determined.