Challenges in measuring angles between craniofacial structures

Abstract Objective: Three-dimensional (3D) angular measurements between craniofacial planes pose challenges to quantify maxillary and mandibular skeletal discrepancies in surgical treatment planning. This study aims to compare the reproducibility and reliability of two modules to measure angles between planes or lines in 3D virtual surface models. Methodology: Twenty oriented 3D virtual surface models de-identified and constructed from CBCT scans were randomly selected. Three observers placed landmarks and oriented planes to determine angular measurements of pitch, roll and yaw using (1) 3D pre-existing planes, (2) 3D planes created from landmarks and (3) lines created from landmarks. Inter- and intra-observer reproducibility and repeatability were examined using the Intra-Class Correlation (ICC) test. One observer repeated the measurements with an interval of 15 days. ANOVA was applied to compare the 3 methods. Results: The three methods tested provided statistically similar, reproducible and reliable angular measurements of the facial structures. A strong ICC varying from 0.92 to 1.00 was found for the intra-observer agreement. The inter-observer ICC varied from 0.84 to 1.00. Conclusion: Measurements of 3D angles between facial planes in a common coordinate system are reproducible and repeatable either using 3D pre-existing planes, created based on landmarks or angles between lines created from landmarks.