A study published in the March/April issue of the journal Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery reports that a new measurement technique could improve the outcomes of facial reconstruction surgery.

“For surgeons who use computer imaging software, analysis of profile photographs is the most valuable tool,” say Travis T. Tollefson, MD, and Jonathan M. Sykes, MD, of the University of California, Davis, Medical Center in Sacramento. “Even when preoperative and postoperative photographs are of different sizes, relative distance comparisons are possible with a new calibration technique using the constant facial landmarks. The porion–pogonion distance is a simple reproducible measurement that can be used along with established soft tissue measurements as a guide for profile facial analysis.”

The calibration method measures the distance between the top of the external ear canal (porion) and the most prominent point on the chin (pogonion) on patient photographs. The calibration helps facial plastic surgeons use computer imaging software to achieve good results.

In their study, the researchers analyzed preoperative and postoperative photos and medical records of 14 patients with an average age of 32 years, who had combined nose surgery and chin correction.

The results found that the porion–pogonion measurements brought patients closer to the normal range for a variety of facial measurements and angles.

[CBC News, March 20, 2007]