How Realistic Is Computer Imaging In Plastic Surgery?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I know that a lot of plastic surgeons use computer imaging for facial surgery. What I don’t understand is how do they know what is really going to happen since surgery and healing doesn’t work like a computer. How do I know I will get what the doctor has shown me by imaging?

A: From my perspective, the role of computer imaging in plastic surgery is different than how you are interpreting its use. It is mainly a communication tool to see if the direction of the various changes are what the patient sees as beneficial. It does necessarily guarantee any result  nor the magnitude of the changes that may occur. (lesser or greater) This is why I am always going to image conservative changes or the very minimum that I believe that can be accomplished. I want patients going into surgery knowing that they will at the very least see these changes. More change may likely happen but it would not be very fair or ethical to show dramatic imaging if that is not what is surgically possible. Anything can be done on the computer but it is up to the plastic surgeon to not overpromise what can be accomplished.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana