While you might have an idea of how you want your nose to look following rhinoplasty, it can be difficult to actually imagine how it will look on your face. Fortunately, technology is on your side when it comes to visualizing the results of your surgery. Computer imaging allows the surgeon to shape your nose based on what you say you want before making any incisions.
The process encourages open communication between you and your surgeon. Using computer imaging before surgery can help reduce the chance you’ll be unhappy or dissatisfied with the results of your procedure.
How It Works
An important part of the consultation for rhinoplasty is having the surgeon take photos of your nose. The photos not only allow the doctor to get a clear image of your nose from a variety of angles. The surgeon can also scan the photos into the computer program, then make changes to your nose from the program.
Computer-imaging software facilitates the consultation process in a few ways. The surgeon can send you the proposed “after” photos. You can then review them at home and respond via email to the doctor with any comments or concerns. Using a computer can be particularly useful if you’re traveling from out-of-state for your surgery. The luxury of reviewing the photos at your home gives you both privacy and time. You won’t feel rushed to make a decision at the doctor’s office, for example.
Getting on the Same Page
Computer imaging can help you more effectively communicate with your surgeon before the procedure. For example, you can tell the surgeon that you want a nose that is narrower, or a tip that is less projected, or a profile that is a bit scooped. After manipulating an image of your current nose in the program, you can let the surgeon know if the image was what you were expecting or not.
It might turn out that the surgeon misinterpreted what you said or that you, in fact, do not want a narrower nose. This discourse with the doctor before the surgery is exceedingly preferable than having to undergo a secondary procedure.
Surveys and studies have been performed to see just how effective computer imaging is at improving patient satisfaction with the results of their surgery. One study, published in 2010, looked at the accuracy of computer imaging.
Interestingly enough, the surgeons were the toughest critics of preoperative computer imaging (PCI). Asked to rate the accuracy of surgical results compared to imaging on a scale of 1 to 5, the surgeons gave an average score of 3, or moderately accurate (5 would be the most accurate). The non-surgeons surveyed gave slightly higher average scores, 3.55.
The study involved 38 patients. Of those patients, 11 completed patient surveys. The surveys found that more than 80 percent of patients rated their happiness with the results as either a 4 or 5 (out of 5). The patients also gave higher accuracy ratings, 3.4 on average, than the surgeons. No matter the outcome of their surgery, the patients were more likely to find computer imaging to be helpful and useful.
What Else to Look For
While computer imaging is definitely a useful tool for both surgeon and patient, it’s important to remember that it’s not the only thing to think about when evaluating a surgeon or deciding if rhinoplasty is the right procedure for you.
It’s a good idea to review before-and-after photos of previous patients to get an idea of the surgeon’s skill in performing rhinoplasty. You can ask to see the before-and-after photos in comparison to preoperative computer imaging to get an idea of whether or not the surgeon was able to produce similar results during the surgery.
Rhinoplasty is one of the most challenging facial plastic surgery procedures to perform. Working with a highly experienced surgeon is a must for the best results. Dr. Jeffrey Epstein is a double board certified facial plastic surgeon with years of experience performing rhinoplasty procedures. Contact one of his offices for a consultation and to see what your new nose could look like. In Miami, call (305) 666-5884. In New York, call (212) 759-3484 for an appointment. Informal consultations are also provided in Britain.