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Imaging Software in Plastic Surgery May Not Be All It's Cracked Up To Be

Plastic surgeon says that imaging software still doesn’t produce a representation of the results that are accurate enough for his eye.

Plastic surgeons in Orange County and throughout the United States are making use of computer imaging technology with greater frequency then ever before. These computer imaging programs are used to give the patient an idea of what they will look like after their plastic surgery procedure(s). The software works by altering patient photographs to simulate the results of various cosmetic surgery procedures such as breast augmentation, rhinoplasty and liposuction.

legs on computer

One Orange County doctor cautions that the imaging technology may not be as accurate or as effective as patients believe, and that it may create unrealistic expectations. Dr. Andrew Smith cautions that he “doesn’t feel comfortable enough with the accuracy of depicted results to use imaging software in my practice at this point.” He goes on to state that “it [video imaging software] still doesn’t produce a representation of the results that’s accurate enough in my eyes.”

The use of computer imaging for body improvements is relatively new, although it has a long history of use in the case of rhinoplasty. As a result, the technology to show the results of breast augmentation or liposuction is not yet very advanced. Smith suggests it might be useful as a good starting point, but that it “shouldn’t take the place of open doctor-patient communication.”

Smith believes his approach, of sitting down with the patient and discussing their goals and expectations, can help patients get better results that they end up happier with. Instead of using patient images, Smith asks patients to bring in pictures of people who have the features they are hoping to achieve with them to the appointment. Smith is then able to help them discuss their goals and ultimately achieve better, more satisfying results than a woman might get who sees an image that is perhaps an unrealistic depiction of what her surgery will do for her.