Journal Article

Accuracy of linear measurements using three imaging modalities: two lateral cephalograms and one 3D model from CBCT data

Pisha Pittayapat, Michael M. Bornstein, Thaís Sumie Nozu Imada, Wim Coucke, Ivo Lambrichts and Reinhilde Jacobs

in European Journal of Orthodontics

Volume 37, issue 2, pages 202-208
Published in print April 2015 | ISSN: 0141-5387
Published online August 2014 | e-ISSN: 1460-2210 | DOI:
Accuracy of linear measurements using three imaging modalities: two lateral cephalograms and one 3D model from CBCT data

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The aim of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of linear measurements on three imaging modalities: lateral cephalograms from a cephalometric machine with a 3 m source-to-mid-sagittal-plane distance (SMD), from a machine with 1.5 m SMD and 3D models from cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) data.


Twenty-one dry human skulls were used. Lateral cephalograms were taken, using two cephalometric devices: one with a 3 m SMD and one with a 1.5 m SMD. CBCT scans were taken by 3D Accuitomo® 170, and 3D surface models were created in Maxilim® software. Thirteen linear measurements were completed twice by two observers with a 4 week interval. Direct physical measurements by a digital calliper were defined as the gold standard. Statistical analysis was performed.


Nasion–Point A was significantly different from the gold standard in all methods. More statistically significant differences were found on the measurements of the 3 m SMD cephalograms in comparison to the other methods. Intra- and inter-observer agreement based on 3D measurements was slightly better than others.


Dry human skulls without soft tissues were used. Therefore, the results have to be interpreted with caution, as they do not fully represent clinical conditions.


3D measurements resulted in a better observer agreement. The accuracy of the measurements based on CBCT and 1.5 m SMD cephalogram was better than a 3 m SMD cephalogram. These findings demonstrated the linear measurements accuracy and reliability of 3D measurements based on CBCT data when compared to 2D techniques. Future studies should focus on the implementation of 3D cephalometry in clinical practice.

Journal Article.  5019 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Restorative Dentistry and Orthodontics

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