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Volume Assessment of the Effect of Obturators on Facial Form Following Surgery for Head and Neck Cancer Using Stereophotogrammetry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Trevor J. Coward, Robin Richards, Michael R. Fenlon, Brendan J. Scott

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-386
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Prosthodontics
Issue number4
Early online date22 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


King's Authors



To determine if stereophotogrammetry could be used to determine the effects of obturators on facial contour in relation to the measurement of facial volumes.

Materials and Methods

Stereophotogrammetry images were recorded from 20 subjects with and without their obturators in place. These were converted into a stereolithographic format and overlaid. Registrations were made using the tissues on the normal areas of the face. Difference images were created, enabling surface areas and volumes to be calculated. To assess repeatability of measurement, 2 readings were recorded on each of 2 separate registrations. Data analysis between the sets of readings used correlation coefficients and paired t‐tests. Coefficients of repeatability were also calculated.


A comparison of readings for the surface areas showed the method of measurement was repeatable with no significant differences between the 2 repeated readings for registration 1 (p = 0.977, coefficient of repeatability = 101 mm2), registration 2 (p = 0.085, coefficient of repeatability = 106 mm2), and the mean of the two readings for registration 1 compared with registration 2 (p = 0.355, coefficient of repeatability = 103 mm2). Similar results were found for the volume measurements with no significant differences between the repeated readings for registration 1 (p = 0.862, coefficient of repeatability = 229 mm3), registration 2 (p = 0.200, coefficient of repeatability = 209 mm3), and the mean of the 2 readings for registration 1 compared with those for registration 2 (p = 0.131, coefficient of repeatability 339 mm3). There was a statistically significant range of volumes that appeared to have been restored by the obturators (p < 0.0005).


Stereophotogrammetry is reliable in assessing the effects of obturators on facial form. In the sample of subjects, obturators generally appeared to be effective in supporting facial tissues following surgical resections of the maxilla and therefore contribute in some degree to the restoration of facial appearance.

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