Three-Dimensional Facial Scanning at the Fingertips of Patients and Surgeons: Accuracy and Precision Testing of iPhone X Three-Dimensional Scanner

Hayeem L. Rudy, Nicole Wake, Judy Yee, Evan S. Garfein, Oren M. Tepper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Background: The iPhone X (Apple, Inc., Cupertino, Calif.) is the first smartphone to be released with a high-fidelity three-dimensional scanner. At present, half of all U.S. smartphone users use an iPhone. Recent data suggest that the majority of these 230 million individuals will upgrade to the iPhone X within 2 years. This represents a profound expansion in access to three-dimensional scanning technology, not only for plastic surgeons but for their patients as well. The purpose of this study was to compare the iPhone X scanner against a popular, portable three-dimensional camera used in plastic surgery (Canfield Vectra H1; Canfield Scientific, Inc., Parsippany, N.J.). Methods: Sixteen human subjects underwent three-dimensional facial capture with the iPhone X and Canfield Vectra H1. Results were compared using color map analysis and surface distances between key anatomical landmarks. To assess repeatability and precision of the iPhone X three-dimensional scanner, six facial scans of a single participant were obtained and compared using color map analysis. In addition, three-dimensionally-printed facial masks (n = 3) were captured with each device and compared. Results: For the experiments, average root mean square was 0.44 mm following color map analysis and 0.46 mm for surface distance between anatomical landmarks. For repeatability and precision testing, average root mean square difference following color map analysis was 0.35 mm. For the three-dimensionally-printed facial mask comparison, average root mean square difference was 0.28 mm. Conclusions: The iPhone X offers three-dimensional scanning that is accurate and precise to within 0.5 mm when compared to a commonly used, validated, and expensive three-dimensional camera. This represents a significant reduction in the barrier to access to three-dimensional scanning technology for both patients and surgeons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1407-1417
Number of pages11
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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