A new technique for three-dimensional ultrasound scanning of facial tissues

Shelley L. Smith, Gaylord S. Throckmorton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


We report the development of an ultrasonic facial scanning technique that allows for the visualization of continuous contours without deforming surface tissues. Adhesive markers are placed on the face to enable measurement of facial tissue thicknesses at specific landmarks. The subject immerses the face in a clear plastic box filled with water for about 20 seconds while the researcher moves the transducer along the bottom of the box, guiding transducer movement by watching the facial image in a mirror placed below. 3D Echotech® software (1) builds the images from sequentially acquired 2D frames. Reliability of repeat measurements at landmarks is good, and individual tissues (skin, subcutaneous, muscle) can be distinguished. The method is simple, reliable, less expensive and less time consuming than alternatives such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It is applicable in both research and clinical contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-457
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2004


  • Craniofacial
  • Facial reconstruction
  • Forensic anthropology
  • Forensic science
  • Surgery
  • Tissue depth
  • Tissue thickness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics


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