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Determining normal and abnormal lip shapes at border positions for use as a longitudinal surgical outcome measure


Correspondence: Hashmat Popat, Applied Clinical Research and Public Health, School of Dentistry, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF14 4XY, UK. E-mail:


Objective measures of facial movement are important for interventions where surgical repositioning of facial structures can influence soft tissue mobility and include the management of patients with cleft lip, facial nerve palsy and orthognathic surgery. As such, the aim of this study is to present a method for determining the outcome of surgical procedures on lip shape during speech. A control group (CG) of 115 average subjects and 30 patients with a Class 3 malocclusion requiring bimaxillary surgery performed four reproducible verbal utterances during image capture using a non-invasive, three-dimensional (3D) motion scanner (3dMDFace™ Dynamic System). Landmark coordinates around the lips of the 3D facial shells were extracted and subjected to discriminant analysis and principal component analysis to statistically differentiate lip shapes between the CG and the patient group (PG) pre- and post-surgery. Pre-surgically, the PG showed statistically significant differences in lip shape during speech in the lateral and vertical dimensions, preferring a wider, shorter lip shape when compared with the CG for all the utterances. The shape differences normalised towards the CG post-surgery. The method presented utilises pre-existing statistical shape analyses and can be reproduced in the clinical setting to provide a diagnostic and functional outcome tool. In this example, correction of the Class 3 skeletal disproportions appeared to normalise lip shape during speech.

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