Using 3D facial asymmetry in better diagnosis and treatment of plagiocephaly



Develop a 3D deformity metric to be used in the diagnosis and treatment of plagiocephaly and to correlate facial and cranial deformations.


This was a Medical Research Council (MRC) project to research skull abnormalities in children in collaboration with the North Bristol NHS Trust and the London Orthotic Consultancy.

The work involved using state-of-the-art 3D imaging techniques to accurately measure the faces and heads of groups of children to look for links between abnormality in head shape and subtle signatures present in facial features. The principal focus is a type of cranial disorder known as positional plagiocephaly. This is where the two sides of the skull develop inconsistently, so that the shape of the head becomes asymmetric, and distorts the shape of the face.

The project has used the Extended Gaussian Image (EGI) representation of shape in order to classify both the extent of cranial deformation and the asymmetry present in a face. Based on seventy detailed scans, early results show definite signs of correlation between the asymmetry of the face and that of the cranium. Furthermore it was able to quantify the improvements made by current treatment techniques.

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Centre for Machine Vision

Professor Melvyn Smith
Bristol Robotics Laboratory,
University of the West of England,
Frenchay Campus, T Building,
Coldharbour Lane,
Bristol, BS16 1QY
Tel: +44 (0)117 32 86358

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Page last updated 12 May 2016