(Received 2 August 1988; accepted 13 October 1988)
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On a series of lateral radiographs of 154 males and 199 females from Vienna, Austria, 3 qualitative morphological features of the external nose were recorded. Their relationship to craniometric dimensions, age, and the contour of the nasal bones was tested using Wilks' stepwise discriminant analyses. All tests gave significant results at the 1% probability level, but, overall, correct assignment of the features to their categories did not exceed 61%. Although height dimensions were used for discrimination in females, the prominence of the nasal bones and age appeared to be the most important discriminating variables in both sexes. Analyses further revealed that the nasal bridge and the direction of the nasal septum are highly correlated, whereas the tip of the nose seemed to be independent; this may reflect the dependence of the latter on exogenous influences, especially nutrition. It was demonstrated that the profile line of the external nose does not follow its underlying bony structures, that is, the profile line of the nasal bones. Thus, the present study showed that obtaining soft tissue thicknesses alone is not sufficient for successful facial reconstruction, but that a more holistic approach should be used to elucidate the relationships between soft tissue cover and the underlying hyaline and bony structures.
postdoctoral research officer, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg,
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