Three-dimensional computed tomographic scan images of facial deformities provide information that has been useful in planning and evaluating therapy. However, the benefits of computed tomographic imaging in cosmetic plastic surgery are often insufficient to justify exposing the patient to radiation. This report describes application of an optical, noncontact, threedimensional surface digitizer with subsecond scanning time for 360-degree examination of the human head. The resultant threedimensional surface data are suitable for computer graphics display and manipulation, and for noncontact skin surface measurement. The scanner provides accurate and complete coverage of complex facial surfaces. This system was applied to digitization of the human head in the planning and evaluation of facial plastic surgery. The results indicate that the resulting image is accurate enough to detect subtle dimensional changes resulting from surgery, including postoperative edema and surface changes due to face-lift. This type of scanning can assist in a number of tasks performed by plastic surgeons, including collecting anthropomorphic measurements, preoperative and postoperative assessment, volume monitoring, customizing of implants, and interactive planning.
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