February 14th, 2012 Miguel A. Delgado Jr, MD
There are many things San Francisco Bay Area patients need to consider when deciding to have cosmetic surgery. One is to be very selective in choosing a surgeon. Most patients understand the importance of picking a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, but then what? If possible try to see at least three surgeons in consultation and determine who you feel most comfortable with. Look closely at before and after pictures you may be presented with of the surgeon’s own patients and determine if you like the results. Many surgeons now offer computer imaging; this is a great opportunity to see if you and the surgeon are on the same page!
If you are not familiar with computer imaging, it is a wide field that includes digital photography, scanning and manipulation of bit-mapped graphics. In plastic surgery this is an excellent tool to aid the surgeon in communicating with the patient the desired goals and realistic outcomes.
Many patients have a hard time visualizing the outcome of possible cosmetic surgery, computer imaging enhances the consultation by allowing the surgeon to show a patient a unique three dimensional view of changes the plastic surgeon recommends, which otherwise would be hard to express by non-visual means.
The process is fairly simple; the surgeon takes photographs of the patient and can then project the photos onto a computer screen. Dr. Delgado uses a specialized computer program called “Canfield Mirror Imaging Systems” which allows him to manipulate the image to give the patient an idea of what the surgical goals are. Imaging works best for facial procedures such as: eyelids, facelift, nose reshaping and chin enhancement. Conservative results can be demonstrated for liposuction. Computer imaging does not work well for breast surgery, gynecomastia surgery or tummy tucks.
The computer cannot provide a guarantee of a specific result but is used more as a tool to demonstrate anticipated surgical changes. Imaging is just an approximation. But Dr. Delgado’s patients have found it to be very valuable in helping them to consider their options during the decision making process.