Is That Me in 3D? | How Computer Imaging Compares to Post Surgery Results

Woman with her hand on her face
2d vs 3d

Imagine that you can see the results of a surgical procedure before actually going through with it. Three-dimensional computer imaging (3D Imaging) does just that. With advanced technology, the Vectra Imaging System (Canfield, Inc.) uses 6 cameras to capture a patient’s face or body from all angles in a simultaneous flash. The software then marries the images pixel by pixel to create a rotating three-dimensional image that can be manipulated to mimic virtually any cosmetic procedure. Like magic, you can see your future new you before your actual procedure(s). How does this 3D computer image compare to the real post-surgical results? See for yourself.

This 63-year-old patient visited Changes Plastic Surgery & Spa in pursuit of overall facial rejuvenation. She complained of drooping upper eyelids and lowered brows. Her eyes had developed obvious under eye bags with hollowed, deep set upper lids. The loss of facial fat showed in flattened cheeks and the unsupported skin pooled at her jawline and neck. Her nasolabial folds were deep, as well as the marionette lines from her mouth down to her chin. Deep folds and wrinkles were apparent over her entire face and smoker’s lines radiated from her lips.

On the left is a 2D image taken with a Nikon D7100 which was taken at the time of her facial rejuvenation consultation. Her areas of concern are evident. On the right is the Vectra 3D Computer captured image of the same patient before manipulation.

Once the raw computer image is captured, the surgeon (or 3D technician) uses an assortment of tools to mimic the surgical procedures recommended for facial rejuvenation. Below is an animated gif showing the 3D raw image next to the engineered virtual image. Do you think surgery can match these results?

3d before and after images

An obvious improvement has been made in this patient’s appearance and a surgical result like this would be awesome. Under eye bags are gone, cheeks are lifted, nasolabial folds and marionette lines erased, the neck tightened and smoothed, jawline refined and sharpened. But, this is not real.

This is real.

real before and after

How does 3D computer imaging compare to the surgical results? Pretty. Darn. Well. The before and after photos above show the amazing similarity between the virtual surgical results and the real post-operative result. This happy, and much younger looking, the patient underwent a lower blepharoplasty, browlift, facelift and neck lift, fat grafting to the lips, marionette lines, upper eyelids, and glabella, tightening of the neck muscles and neck lift, chin augmentation and dermabrasion around her mouth. Imagine how hard it would be to picture these changes without the 3D vision.

As designed, 3D computer imaging takes the guesswork out of cosmetic surgery. Interested in breast augmentation? View your virtual figure with any shape or size of the implant. Curious about a mommy makeover? Perhaps a Brazilian Butt Lift? Wonder what laser skin rejuvenation can do for sun damage? Just about any aesthetic change, you are contemplating can be previewed in 3D.

Gilbert Lee, M.D. is a board-certified plastic surgeon in San Diego, CA, and Changes was one of the first practices to have offered the Vectra 3D Imaging system. Contact Changes Plastic Surgery & Spa to schedule your own virtual 3D glimpse into your cosmetic results.


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