Volumetric comparison of maxillofacial soft tissue morphology: computed tomography in the supine position versus three-dimensional optical scanning in the sitting position

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Objective.Three-dimensional (3-D) surgical simulation has become popular, but the accuracy of such simulation is difficult to assess. Because maxillofacial soft tissue profiles vary with posture, we compared such profiles obtained in the supine and sitting positions.Study Design.In total, 28 patients with skeletal Class III jaw deformities underwent computed tomography in the supine position and 3-D optical scanning in the sitting position. The 2 sets of 3-D data were superimposed, and linear and volumetric differences were calculated. We evaluated the cheeks, the subauricular and infraorbital regions, the nose, the lips, and the chin. Statistical analyses were performed by using paired Student's t tests. Differences with P < .05 were considered significant.Results.Patients were divided into 3 groups based on body mass index. The facial profiles of the cheeks and subauricular areas differed significantly between the sitting and supine positions. The extent of variation increased with body mass index.Conclusions.When a patient moves from the sitting position to the supine position, maxillofacial soft tissue migrates from the cheeks to the subauricular regions. Thus, simulations for surgery based on supine computed tomography alone do not accurately model the cheeks and subauricular areas.

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