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One of the drawbacks of statistical shape models is their occasional failure to converge. Although visually this fact is usually easy to recognize, there is no automatic way to detect it. In this paper, we introduce a generic reliability measure for statistical shape models. It is based on a probabilistic framework and uses information extracted by the model itself during the matching process. The proposed method was validated with two variants of active shape models in the context facial image analysis. Experimental results on more than 3700 facial images showed a high degree of correlation between the segmentation accuracy and the estimated reliability metric.