A growing trend in esthetic surgery is the use of computer imaging software, also referred to as “morphing” programs. After inserting a digital photograph of the patient into the program, the surgeon is able to mold and shape a patient’s features on the computer screen to obtain a picture of the desired outcome after surgery. This form of “digital surgery” has gained increasing popularity among patients. Therefore, many surgeons now use this technology in their offices to illustrate the potential outcome of surgery to their patients.
The advantage of this technological tool is an enhanced communication between surgeon and patient. A visual representation helps the patient and surgeon agree on a common goal. It also provides a degree of comfort to the patient when he/she is able to visualize the possible final outcome after surgery. Despite its advantages, there is a potential serious disadvantage: patients may be shown an ideal result on the altered computer photograph that is not feasible surgically and decide to go forward with the surgery based on unrealistic expectations. An honest and ethical surgeon will only demonstrate changes that can be realistically achieved with surgery.
It is important to remember that, even when used appropriately, this is a tool, which approximates the final outcome of rhinoplasty surgery, and that any result visualized does not represent exactly the final surgical outcome.
An alternative to computer imaging is to view the surgeon’s portfolio of “before and after” photos. This gives you an idea of the surgeon’s results in patients who have had a real surgery with real results. You should ask to see photos of patients with nasal features and anatomy similar to yours so that you can see what the doctor may be able to achieve surgically with your nose.
Computer Imaging at our Centre
Dr. Samaha uses computer imaging to enhance communication by providing the patient with a visual representation of the modifications that he and the patient have agreed on. He performs changes on the picture that he feels are realistically achievable with surgery. While some patients already have a clear idea of the result they would like to achieve, some find this tool helpful in providing them with a visual sense of the expected result. Patients can also view Dr. Samaha’s portfolio of results.