Three-dimensional computed tomography cephalometry of plagiocephaly: Asymmetry and shape analysis

D. J. Netherway*, A. H. Abbott, N. Gulamhuseinwala, K. L. McGlaughlin, P. J. Anderson, G. C. Townsend, D. J. David

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To investigate facial asymmetry associated with both deformational and synostotic plagiocephaly and to identify variables based on skeletal landmarks that distinguish the conditions and quantify severity. Design: Retrospective, cross sectional. Setting: Australian Craniofacial Unit, Adelaide. Main Outcome Measures: Proportional differences between bilateral distances and principal component (PC) analysis of the skeletal landmarks. Patients: The three-dimensional positions of 78 osseous landmarks were determined from computed tomography (CT) scans of 21 patients with deformational plagiocephaly (DP), 20 patients with unilateral coronal synostosis (UCS), and 2 patients with unilateral lambdoid synostosis (ULS). Results: For both DP and UCS, significant asymmetry was found for the orbital depths, mandibular lengths, maxillary depths, zygomatic arch lengths, lateral base of the parietal bone, and the angle between the anterior and the posterior cranial base projected onto the axial plane. The small sample size for ULS precluded definitive statistical statements but allowed some useful comparisons with the other conditions. The first three PC scores were able to distinguish among the three conditions and which side was affected. Conclusions: The asymmetry of the cranial base and facial structures, arising from localized abnormality or deformational forces in either the frontal or the occipital regions, can be quantified by a plethora of bilateral features or summarized by PC analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-210
Number of pages10
JournalCleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Asymmetry
  • Coronal synostosis
  • Deformational plagiocephaly
  • Geometric morphometrics
  • Lambdoid synostosis
  • Plagiocephaly
  • Principal component analysis
  • Procrustes


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