To quantify the shape of cleft lip noses and to evaluate the outcome following rhinoplasty objectively, a three-dimensional measuring system for the nasal shape was developed using a contact-type measuring apparatus. In this system, the surface data for a face could be obtained accurately, and facial landmarks could be identified semiautomatically. A new method for evaluating the nasal shape, which regards the nose as a polyhedron constructed of triangles which consist of facial landmarks, has been subsequently devised. Facial plaster models of 129 Japanese volunteers, 61 men and 68 women, were made. The nasal shapes were characterized by linear and angular measurements using semiautomatically identified landmarks, and the new polyhedral system of measurement was applied. The polyhedron was constructed of 10 triangular planes each consisting of three landmarks. The normal vector of each plane was calculated, and the angles described by these normal vectors were calculated. Consequently, the nasal shapes of males and females were characterized as follows: (1) the proportion of the size of the nasal ala to that of the nasal dorsum was larger in males than in females; (2) a more outward projection of the nasal ala was observed in males than in females; (3) the so-called 'nasal tip angle' was more acute in males than in females; (4) the transitional area from the nasal dorsum to the face was steeper in females than in males; (5) the upper compartments of the nasal ala were steeper in females than in males.
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