Machine Learning in Metopic Craniosynostosis: Does Phenotypic Severity Predict Long-Term Esthetic Outcome?

Jessica D. Blum, Justin Beiriger, Dillan F. Villavisanis, Carrie Morales, Daniel Y. Cho, Wenzheng Tao, Ross Whitaker, Scott P. Bartlett, Jesse A. Taylor, Jesse A. Goldstein, Jordan W. Swanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: There have been few longitudinal studies assessing the effect of preoperative phenotypic severity on long-term esthetic outcomes in metopic craniosynostosis. This study evaluates the relationship between metopic severity and long-term esthetic outcomes using interfrontal angle (IFA) and CranioRate, a novel metopic synostosis severity measure. Methods: Patients with metopic craniosynostosis who underwent bifrontal orbital advancement and remodeling between 2012 and 2017 were reviewed. Preoperative computed tomography head scans were analyzed for IFA and CranioRate, a machine learning algorithm which generates quantitative severity ratings including metopic severity score (MSS) and cranial morphology deviation (CMD). Long-term esthetic outcomes were assessed by craniofacial surgeons using blinded 3-rater esthetic grading of clinical photos. Raters assessed Whitaker score and the presence of temporal hollowing, lateral orbital retrusion, frontal bone irregularities and/or "any visible irregularities."Results: Preoperative scans were performed at a mean age of 7.7±3.4 months, with average MSS of 6/10, CMD of 200/300, and IFA of 116.8±13.8 degrees. Patients underwent bifrontal orbital advancement and remodeling at mean 9.9±3.1 months. The average time from operation to esthetic assessment was 5.4±1.0 years. Pearson correlation revealed a significant negative correlation between MSS and age at computed tomography (r=-0.451, P=0.004) and IFA (r=-0.371, P=0.034) and between IFA and age at surgery (r=-0.383, P=0.018). In multinomial logistic regression, preoperative MSS was the only independent predictor of visible irregularities (odds ratio=2.18, B=0.780, P=0.024) and preoperative IFA alone significantly predicted Whitaker score, with more acute IFA predicting worse Whitaker score (odds ratio=0.928, B=-0.074, P=0.928). Conclusions: More severe preoperative phenotypes of metopic craniosynostosis were associated with worse esthetic dysmorphology. Objective measures of preoperative metopic severity predicted long-term esthetic outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-64
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Craniofacial Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • 3-dimensional
  • Classification
  • craniosynostosis
  • diagnostic imaging
  • imaging
  • severity of illness index


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