Objectives: To quantify incisor decompensation in preparation for orthognathic surgery. Study design: Pre-treatment and pre-surgery lateral cephalograms for 86 patients who had combined orthodontic and orthognathic treatment were digitised using OPAL 2.1 [http://www.opalimage.co.uk]. To assess intra-observer reproducibility, 25 images were re-digitised one month later. Random and systematic error were assessed using the Dahlberg formula and a two-sample t-test, respectively. Differences in the proportions of cases where the maxillary (1100 +/- 60) or mandibular (900 +/- 60) incisors were fully decomensated were assessed using a Chi-square test (p<0.05). Mann-Whitney U tests were used to identify if there were any differences in the amount of net decompensation for maxillary and mandibular incisors between the Class II combined and Class III groups (p<0.05). Results: Random and systematic error were less than 0.5 degrees and p<0.05, respectively. A greater proportion of cases had decompensated mandibular incisors (80%) than maxillary incisors (62%) and this difference was statistically significant (p=0.029). The amount of maxillary incisor decompensation in the Class II and Class III groups did not statistically differ (p=0.45) whereas the mandibular incisors in the Class III group underwent statistically significantly greater decompensation (p=0.02). Conclusions: Mandibular incisors were decompensated for a greater proportion of cases than maxillary incisors in preparation for orthognathic surgery. There was no difference in the amount of maxillary incisor decompensation between Class II and Class III cases. There was a greater net decompensation for mandibular incisors in Class III cases when compared to Class II cases. © Medicina Oral S.L.