Computers and Plastic Surgery
What would you look like if you could just lose that extra bulge...erase
those lines around your lips? What if your eyes looked like they used to...your
neckline was firm again? What if you had the body or nose that you always
thought you should have been born with?
Computer imaging is sophisticated and yet simple enough to answer the above
questions before any surgical procedure is ever performed. The process involves
having your picture taken with a high quality digital camera connected to a
computer. Through the use of multiple fast computer processors, that image can
be manipulated before your very eyes. The imaging should be done by your plastic
surgeon or his or her assistant who is well-versed in what can and cannot be
Jennifer, an eighteen year old, was recently seen in my office. Jennifer was
interested in changing the shape of her nose. She said that she didn't like the
bump and thought that her nose was too wide. She didn't want to look like she
had had a "nose job". After examining Jennifer and talking with her
and her mother, I offered to computer image Jennifer and show them the changes
that could be made.
The pictures were taken and with their input, the image was transformed.
First the bump was shaved. That met with their approval. Then the tip and middle
part of the nose was narrowed. That met with their approval as well. Next the
tip was lifted slightly. Both said, "Not too much." The profile was
still not to their liking. Finally the little bulge of fat under the chin was
removed and both mother and daughter began to smile. I knew that this would be a
happy patient after surgery.
Computer imaging has improved communication between the plastic surgeon and
the patient. For a patient and a plastic surgeon to both be happy after a
surgical procedure, the patient must understand what changes the doctor is
capable of achieving and the patient must communicate to the doctor what changes
they find appealing.
The imaging session allows prospective patients to proceed comfortably with
fewer questions and misconceptions. Communication is what computer imaging is
all about. Imaged patients are better informed because they know what is
surgically feasible. Through the use of real-time image manipulation you can
participate and experience the change by magically being transformed to a
simulated post-operative outcome. Doctors benefit by gaining a greater sense of
a patient's expectations.