The prospect of cosmetic surgery is exciting for most patients, and it can be a challenge to remain patient while waiting to see the final result. Because of this, many of my patients ask me if new visualization technology apps are worth downloading. Can they provide realistic insights into potential results? It’s a great question—and one addressed by a recent article on Medium that explores significant ongoing investments being made into technologies and innovations intended to simulate cosmetic surgery results.
Your skin and features are quite a bit more complex than computer pixels.
However, these apps are often geared towards satisfying an individual’s wish to see an idealized version of themselves and don’t necessarily present realistic possibilities.
Where is cosmetic surgery technology headed?
The Medium article makes note of a few tantalizing developments, including:
- The Face++ Micro-plastic surgery software development kit is a beauty camera that uses pre-existing templates to predict the effects of particular cosmetic enhancements.
- The Xianxun 3D Scanning and Simulation App uses facial recognition and 3D modeling to provide clients with “intelligent shaping suggestions.”
- The Xichan Plastic Surgery Design Robot is a bot that attempts to provide customized cosmetic surgery suggestions for different patients
What is my take on all of this? While these new developments may sound exciting, I have some serious reservations.
- Imaging technology can’t account for the particulars of your anatomy, skin elasticity, and more. Remember, these apps use photo-based technology alone. A plastic surgeon closely examines your skin to understand many aspects, such as elasticity and texture (which are important to your results) that can’t be understood through a photo alone.
- Only an experienced surgeon can tell you what is realistic for you. Templates can not accurately predict the effects of cosmetic enhancement for you. They can only offer an approximation.
- “Intelligent shaping suggestions” and “customized” suggestions from bots means a computer is matching you to an existing ideal within a system. Patients deserve better than this: we are all individuals and your surgical plan (and results) should be fully tailored and completely original to you.
- Using visualization apps may turn your focus toward a fantasy instead of the surgeon’s actual patients. Focus on what a particular surgeon can provide for patients like you in reality by closely examining the results of patients who had similar concerns.
The bottom line is that all patients have unique features—including some that can only be understood in person. Plastic surgeons must use creativity, aesthetic discernment, and surgical skill to ensure the cosmetic surgery plan will complement your particular features. They also have to operate on you in real life, and flesh is quite a bit more complex than computer pixels.
Consulting with a cosmetic surgeon in person is irreplaceable
While visualization technology can occasionally be helpful, it simply can not replace an in-person consultation with a highly experienced, board certified plastic surgeon. Your surgeon should spend time understanding the nuances of your features and be thrilled to help you hone in on the best changes for you. In fact, if you consult with any surgeon that offers to match results from an app or encourages you to use one to pick out your own surgical plan, consider it a red flag.
To that end, we’d invite anyone who’s excited about plastic surgery, jittery about plastic surgery, or on the fence to contact us today. We’d love to chat with you about possible techniques and approaches and to answer any questions you may have about what the final outcome will be.