Use Imaging or your Imagination?
Posted on 08/30/2011 on behalf of Dr. Kenrick Spence, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Imagine a scenario where a patient comes in for a rhinoplasty consultation and her plastic surgeon explains that she can see the results of her surgery before she goes under the knife. In the past, there was no way to "show" a patient what her nose could look like after surgery. Previous patients' "before and after" photos provided some insight into what a surgeon was capable of, but couldn't tell patients what their noses would look like. With modern technology, computer imaging is allowing surgeons to closely approximate results before surgery, but even with computer images, there's no guarantee that the results on the screen will match the final results.
Getting back to our scenario, after seeing the computer images and believing that the results pictured were the ones she was getting, it can be very disappointing when the surgery doesn't produce the same results, even if the results look fantastic. It's tempting to put all of your hope into computer imaging, but patients should understand the images aren't promises.
I tell my patients if your skin sewed like cloth or stayed glued like paper, my job would be easy. In reality, a skilled surgeon may still produce different results from computer images because once he or she begins the operation, your anatomy will become the greatest factor in determining your results—something a computer image cannot accurately foresee.
While computer imaging can be very helpful for procedures like rhinoplasty and face lift in Orlando, it's only one factor that goes into choosing your facial plastic surgeon and achieving your desired results. If you want to know about your results before surgery, explore "before and after" photos, speak to former patients, and take computer images with a grain of salt. While computer imaging is a great tool, don't hang your hat on imaging: choose reality over imagination.