This study was conducted to determine if nasolabial appearance is rated with comparable results and reliability on 3-dimensional stereophotogrammetric facial images versus standard clinical photographs (2-dimensional). Twenty-seven consecutively treated patients with repaired complete unilateral cleft lip and palate were selected. Six trained and calibrated raters assessed cropped 2- and 3-dimensional facial images. Nasolabial profile, nasolabial frontal, and vermillion border esthetics were rated with the 5-point scale described by Asher-McDade using the modified Q-sort method. Cropped 3-dimensional images were available for viewing by each rater, allowing for complete rotational control for viewing the images from all aspects. Two- and three-dimensional ratings were done separately and repeated the next day.
Interrater reliability scores were good for 2-dimensional (κ = 0.607–0.710) and fair to good for 3-dimensional imaging (κ = 0.374–0.769). Intrarater reliability was good to very good for 2-dimensional (κ = 0.749–0.836) and moderate to good for 3-dimensional imaging (κ = 0.554–0.855). Bland–Altman analysis showed satisfactory agreement of 2- and 3-dimensional scores for nasolabial profile and nasolabial frontal, but more systematic error occurred in the assessment of vermillion border.
Although 3-dimensional images may be perceived as more representative of a direct clinical facial evaluation, their use for subjective rating of nasolabial aesthetics was not more reliable than 2-dimensional images in this study. Conventional 2-dimensional images provide acceptable reliability while being readily accessible for most cleft palate centers.