Computer imaging done through a wide variety of programs is a very useful tool in plastic surgery. There are even numerous apps when one can do a little imaging on their own of some basic plastic surgery operations. While patients are usually very excited to see the results of these manipulations, there are some basic concepts of computer imaging in plastic surgery that are helpful in understanding what these images mean. Computer imaging is designed to serve as a method of communication between the patient and the plastic surgeon to see if they are on the same page. The location and magnitude of the desired changes are what is important. It is not intended to be an exact replica or a guarantee of the result that will be obtained. The overall view is what is important not so much the fine details.
Contrary to popular perception, there is no computer that does the imaging. It may be done on the computer but ultimately it is the hand of the operator (often using Photoshop) that is creating what he/she thinks the effects will be from the surgery. That is the reason it is called ‘computer prediction imaging’…it is a prediction not an assured result. The body does not respond to trauma and healing like pixels do on a computer screen.
‘Plastic Surgery is not like Photoshop’
Dr. Barry Eppley