Three-dimensional (3D) surface imaging devices designed to capture and quantify craniofacial surface morphology are becoming more common in clinical environments. Such scanners overcome the limitations of two-dimensional photographs while avoiding the ionizing radiation of computed tomography. The purpose of this study was to compare standard anthropometric cranial measurements with measurements taken from images acquired with 3D surface scanners.
Two 3D scanners of different cost were used to acquire head shape data from thirteen adult volunteers: M4D scan and Structure Sensor. Head circumference and cephalic index were measured directly on the patients as well as on 3D scans acquired with the two scanners. To compare head volume measurements with a gold standard, magnetic resonance imaging scans were used. Repeatability and accuracy of both devices were evaluated.
Intra-rater repeatability for both scanners was excellent (intraclass correlation coefficients > 0.99, p < 0.001). Direct and digital measures of head circumference, cephalic index and head volume were strongly correlated (0.85 < r < 0.91, p < 0.001). Compared to direct measurements, accuracy was highest for M4D scan.
Both 3D scanners provide reproducible data of head circumference, cephalic index and head volume and show a strong correlation with traditional measurements. However, care must be taken when using absolute values.