3D facial landmarks: Inter-operator variability of manual annotation

Research output: Research - peer-reviewJournal article – Annual report year: 2014

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Background
Manual annotation of landmarks is a known source of variance, which exist in all fields of medical imaging, influencing the accuracy and interpretation of the results. However, the variability of human facial landmarks is only sparsely addressed in the current literature as opposed to e.g. the research fields of orthodontics and cephalometrics. We present a full facial 3D annotation procedure and a sparse set of manually annotated landmarks, in effort to reduce operator time and minimize the variance.
Method
Facial scans from 36 voluntary unrelated blood donors from the Danish Blood Donor Study was randomly chosen. Six operators twice manually annotated 73 anatomical and pseudo-landmarks, using a three-step scheme producing a dense point correspondence map. We analyzed both the intra- and inter-operator variability, using mixed-model ANOVA. We then compared four sparse sets of landmarks in order to construct a dense correspondence map of the 3D scans with a minimum point variance.
Results
The anatomical landmarks of the eye were associated with the lowest variance, particularly the center of the pupils. Whereas points of the jaw and eyebrows have the highest variation. We see marginal variability in regards to intra-operator and portraits. Using a sparse set of landmarks (n=14), that capture the whole face, the dense point mean variance was reduced from 1.92 to 0.54 mm.
Conclusion
The inter-operator variability was primarily associated with particular landmarks, where more leniently landmarks had the highest variability. The variables embedded in the portray and the reliability of a trained operator did only have marginal influence on the variability. Further, using 14 of the annotated landmarks we were able to reduced the variability and create a dense correspondences mesh to capture all facial features.
Original languageEnglish
Article number35
JournalB M C Medical Imaging
Volume14
Number of pages9
ISSN1471-2342
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 5

    Research areas

  • 3D Facial landmarks, Inter-operator annotation variance, Dense point correspondence, Point distribution mode, ANOVA
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