Use of 3D Computer Imaging in Cosmetic Plastic Surgery

Posted By on Feb 13, 2015 in Plastic Surgeon, Plastic Surgery Blogs, Plastic Surgery Science


Being an elective procedure, the primary goal of any cosmetic plastic surgery is to meet the patient’s goals and expectations. But to make such endeavor possible, good communication between a doctor and his patient must be first established.

However, communications between cosmetic plastic surgeons and their patients are hindered by hifalutin terminologies and “personal” interpretation of each term. For instance, the word “natural-looking” may have different meanings to each breast augmentation patient.

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It is not uncommon for someone to use the term “natural” to describe small breast augmentation, although another woman might use the word to define the teardrop appearance.

To close the communication gap between a cosmetic surgeon and his patient, one company has developed a simulating technology called VECTRA 3D, which uses three-dimensional photography to help an individual preview the results of plastic surgery through the use of different surgical techniques.

Renowned Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smaili believes the technology is particularly helpful prior to breast augmentation surgery in which implant size dissatisfaction is one of the most common reasons for getting a revision. According to a recent survey, 13 percent of patients thought their implants were too small, while 2 percent considered the post-op results too large.

Another renowned surgeon, Dr. Karan Dhir, says the technology plays an important role in reducing the revision rate of rhinoplasty or “nose job,” which arguably is the highest among plastic surgery procedures.

According to medical literature, the revision rate of rhinoplasty can be as high as 20 percent, with many of the patients asking for a secondary procedure complaining that the previous result did not meet their expectations and goals [even by normal standard it is considered cosmetically pleasing].

VECTRA 3D uses a camera that captures a three-dimensional photograph of the patient. Each image is taken from several different points of view to simulate a person’s current appearance, which is also referred to as “before.”

The technology also comes with software that lets plastic surgeons to enhance, or to be more specific, change the size, position, and contour of the surgical site. This allows patients to preview the result of each surgical approach.

The “before” and “after” images can be also rotated on the screen and viewed from different angles, further helping the patients make the right decisions and express their goals, while allowing their surgeons to close the communication gap and explain the possible limitations of plastic surgery.

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