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Abstract

Surface modeling of embryonic craniofacial morphology typically is accomplished using data derived from planar contours. Methods currently available for reconstructing embryonic craniofacial anatomy from contour data rely on shortest-path algorithms in order to interpolate surfaces. However, these techniques either fail or require a considerable amount of user interaction when complex surfaces are modeled since foramina and structural divisions cannot be interpolated properly. Recently, a new approach has been described by Boissonnat that constructs a polyhedral volume between sets of planar contours. Surfaces are interpolated by identifying the planes formed when the contours intersect the polyhedron. The purpose of this study is to determine whether craniofacial cartilages from embryonic mice can be reconstructed in an accurate and reliable fashion using this method. Embryonic mice were collected and processed for routine histological sectioning. Serial sections of the anterior cranial base and nasal capsule were obtained, subjected to videomicroscopy, and modeled. Reconstructions of the anterior cranial base and nasal capsule from embryonic mice were compared to the same structures in age-matched specimens that were processed with whole-mount staining procedures. The models compared well with the whole-mount preparations. In addition, the reconstruction technique accurately rendered complex surface features of the embryonic anterior cranial base and nasal capsule including foramina and structural branches.