Our Research

Radiation-Free Quantification of Intracranial Volume and Head Malformations from 3D Photography


The evaluation of brain development in children with cranial pathology plays an essential role in surgical treatment and patient monitoring, in which the intracranial volume (ICV) and cranial malformations are two important measurements.

In practice, ICV and cranial shape are evaluated using computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However, CT involves radiation, which is harmful for young children, and MRI requires sedation or anesthesia which affects neuron development for young children. 3D photography offers noninvasive, radiation- and anesthetic-free evaluation of craniofacial morphology. But the robust quantifications of both ICV and cranial shape measurements are not possible with current 3D photography systems.



We have developed a computational framework to quantify ICV and head malformations from 3D photography, and use them to characterize cranial shape abnormalities objectively and quantitatively in patients. A set of landmarks were automatically identified in 3D photographs of patients. That allows the cranial shape to be extracted and used to compute the head volume, cranial bone volume, intracranial/brain volume and cranial bone malformations at every location on the cranium.


The novel automatic framework has the potential to reduce the use of radiation- and sedation-based imaging for surgical planning and patient monitoring. We are working with collaborators to collect more data and validate our framework. We are also working on extensions to support facial dysmorphology analysis from 3D photography.



NIH R42HD081712