Measuring facial skin thickness

March 11, 2019

Researchers measure facial skin and superficial fat thickness to improve minimally invasive procedure outcomes.

Researchers who used a 3D scanner to study overall facial skin and superficial fat thickness in adult cadavers report facial skin tends to be thinnest at the radix and dorsum, at an average 1.51 mm, and thickest in the infraorbital region, at an average 1.97 mm. Facial superficial fat thickness was thinnest at the radix and dorsum, averaging 1.61 mm, and thickest in the perioral regions, averaging 5.14 mm, according to a study published Jan. 10, 2019, in Clinical Anatomy.

The authors write that providers’ understanding of the regional thickness and distribution of facial superficial fat is key to achieving optimal outcomes with minimally invasive procedures, including fillers, neuromodulators and thread lifts.
With thread lifting, for example, the target layer of the face should be the superficial fat, making it important to have a grasp of the regional thickness of facial superficial fat.

Researchers from Seoul, South Korea, studied 53 Korean and Thai adult cadavers by scanning and reconstructing undissected and serially dissected facial specimens. They superimposed the images to report on facial skin and superficial fat thickness in seven regions of the face.

“The facial skin tended to become thicker in the order of the radix and dorsum, and the temple, supraorbital, forehead, perioral, cheek and infraorbital areas,” they write. “The facial superficial fat thickness tended to increase in the order of the radix and dorsum, supraorbital, forehead, temple, cheek, infraorbital and perioral regions.”

Specifically, they found: 

  • The average thickness of forehead skin is 1.70 mm and superficial fat is 1.99 mm.

  • Average thickness of the radix and dorsum skin is 1.51mm and superficial fat is 1.61 mm.

  • Average thickness of the supraorbital region skin is 1.67mm and superficial fat is 1.82 mm.

  • Average thickness of the infraorbital area skin is 1.97mm and for superficial fat it’s 4.93 mm.

  • In the perioral region, the average thickness of skin is 1.82mm and superficial fat is 5.14 mm.

  • In the temple, the average skin thickness is 1.65mm and superficial fat thickness is 2.58 mm.

  • In the cheek, the average skin thickness is 1.85 mm.

  • Average superficial fat thickness at the cheek is 4.54 mm.

The study’s findings may influence practice. For example, the finding that facial skin thickens as it goes toward the lower aspect of the face is useful for deciding on cannula entry points for filler injections, according to the authors.

The authors credit 3D scanning with offering crucial anatomical information needed to perform minimally invasive procedures.

Disclosures:

The authors report no relevant disclosures.

References:

Kim YS, Lee KW, Kim JS, et al. Regional thickness of facial skin and superficial fat: Application to the minimally-invasive procedures. Clin Anat. 2019;