"This is a great way of starting the discussion with my patients. It also offers them a pictorial history of their faces and body over time"

Virtual Cosmetic Surgery

Are you considering a cosmetic enhancement procedure and wondering how it would make you look? Most people are curious, even anxious, to know what the results of their surgery will be.

Posted: 12 December 11

Until recently, surgeons had to rely on a gallery of before and after photos, often of former clients, as part of the consultation process. But these photos can’t show how you yourself would look with that particular enhancement.

Ideally, your initial consultation with a surgeon should leave little to the imagination.  You should leave the office with a clear understanding of what the enhancement will look like on you. Now, with the 3D imaging technology available in some practices around Australia, you can get a much more precise idea of how your “after” photo will look.

3D imaging systems—Vectra and AxisThree in Australia—capture precise measurements of a person’s face or body. The surgeon can use this image to demonstrate on the computer screen how that face or body would look after the procedure.

Anyone considering facial plastic surgery, breast augmentation or reduction, butt augmentation or most other surgical procedures may find 3D technology very helpful. The results of non-surgical treatments, such as anti-wrinkle injections and dermal fillers, can also be shown using 3D-assisted imaging. Sydney plastic surgeon Dr. Peter Laniewski says “this is a great way of starting the discussion with my patients. It also offers them a pictorial history of their faces and body over time”.

These days surgeons and other practitioners are finding this technology useful for several important reasons:

The comfort factor

People are often self-conscious and uncomfortable when the whole focus of the discussion with the doctor is about how they look. Using computer technology to project the image on a screen makes the process less personal and more objective. With your doctor’s attention on the image rather than directly on your face or body, you can relax and focus on the consultation.

More realistic expectations

A 3D image of your face or body projected on a screen leaves little scope for misunderstanding. An experienced surgeon will show you what is possible and what isn’t.  And 3D images, which can be rotated to any angle, are easier to understand than a two-dimensional photo (of someone else) or a hand drawn picture.

A better sense of proportion

Beauty does not lie just in the beholder’s eye. It depends to a large degree on the proportion and balance of features as a whole. So it is one thing to want Jennifer Lopez’s butt, but would it look good on your body? By the same token, your surgeon can give you a larger bra size with an implant, but how will bigger breasts actually look on you? Will you be top-heavy? Will you have regrets?

Such uncertainly is now unnecessary. Your surgeon can use 3D imaging to show with a few clicks how you would look with small, medium or large breasts. Or with Jennifer Lopez’s butt.

Better-informed decisions

Your surgeon can use computer imaging to explain different techniques and approaches and demonstrate on your 3D model what the results would look like. Many variations can be tried, until you and your surgeon agree on a desired outcome. And because people often have more than one procedure at a time, 3D imaging can show how the combined effect will look.

No one wants unpleasant surprises after a cosmetic procedure, especially a surgical one.  Careful use of 3D imaging technology can add a degree of certainty to decisions with less chance of disappointment. When uncertainty is reduced, so is anxiety, and you can spend more of your initial consultation discussing the procedure and less time worrying about results.

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