Kinematic Analysis of Smiles in the Healthy Pediatric Population Using 3-Dimensional Motion Capture

Rami R. Hallac, Nikhitha Thrikutam, Pang Yun Chou, Rong Huang, James R. Seaward, Alex A. Kane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Introduction: Facial normalcy, as measured with 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional photographs, has been documented in the healthy pediatric population. However, static images convey far from a complete representation of an individual’s daily interactions with peers. Craniofacial surgery induces changes to soft or osseous tissues and thereby affects dynamic facial expression. To-date, there has not been rigorous, dynamic quantification of normal facial expression. In this study, we used 4-dimensional (4D) imaging to assess the facial expression of healthy children to provide a normative reference point for craniofacial surgeons. Methods: A total of 36 healthy pediatric volunteers underwent 4D video recordings while performing a maximal voluntary smile. A face template containing 884 landmarks was registered and tracked throughout the videos using Dimensional Imaging software. Participants were divided into 2 smile groups: open-lip smile and closed-lip smile. Kinematic analysis of smiles was calculated for every landmark from its position in the resting frame to its terminal displacement. Results: Composite smiles and Euclidean distance maps were generated displaying areas of greatest displacement near the oral commissures. There was significant difference between closed-lip and open-lip groups in regions of eyes and cheeks. In addition, the open-lip smile group demonstrated significantly greater displacement in the oral commissure on the left side compared to the right (P <.05); whereas, in the closed-lip group, the eyes and cheeks moved significantly more on the right side. Conclusion: This study presents an innovative method that can be used to evaluate facial expressions to help craniofacial surgeons restore functional movement in patients with facial anomalies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)430-437
Number of pages8
JournalCleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • 4D imaging
  • asymmetry
  • dynamic imaging
  • posed smile
  • spontaneous smile
  • video stereophotogrammetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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