Toward a Universal Measure of Facial Difference Using Two Novel Machine Learning Models. Academic Article uri icon


  • UNLABELLED: A sensitive, objective, and universally accepted method of measuring facial deformity does not currently exist. Two distinct machine learning methods are described here that produce numerical scores reflecting the level of deformity of a wide variety of facial conditions. METHODS: The first proposed technique utilizes an object detector based on a cascade function of Haar features. The model was trained using a dataset of 200,000 normal faces, as well as a collection of images devoid of faces. With the model trained to detect normal faces, the face detector confidence score was shown to function as a reliable gauge of facial abnormality. The second technique developed is based on a deep learning architecture of a convolutional autoencoder trained with the same rich dataset of normal faces. Because the convolutional autoencoder regenerates images disposed toward their training dataset (ie, normal faces), we utilized its reconstruction error as an indicator of facial abnormality. Scores generated by both methods were compared with human ratings obtained using a survey of 80 subjects evaluating 60 images depicting a range of facial deformities [rating from 1 (abnormal) to 7 (normal)]. RESULTS: The machine scores were highly correlated to the average human score, with overall Pearson's correlation coefficient exceeding 0.96 (P < 0.00001). Both methods were computationally efficient, reporting results within 3 seconds. CONCLUSIONS: These models show promise for adaptation into a clinically accessible handheld tool. It is anticipated that ongoing development of this technology will facilitate multicenter collaboration and comparison of outcomes between conditions, techniques, operators, and institutions.

published proceedings

  • Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Takiddin, A., Shaqfeh, M., Boyaci, O., Serpedin, E., & Stotland, M. A.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Takiddin, Abdulrahman||Shaqfeh, Mohammad||Boyaci, Osman||Serpedin, Erchin||Stotland, Mitchell A

publication date

  • January 2022