Smartphone Plastic Surgery

Smartphones have undoubtedly taken over our lives. Spend time in any crowd or shopping mall and notice how many people are doing something on their phones at that instant. Whether it be reading e-mail, downloading, playing a game, taking a picture…and yes even talking… so loud that we all must know that their dog is safely at the groomer getting a blowdry…or how insufferable it is to wait a few extra minutes on the tarmac. (pardon me; I digressed for a moment..but I’m sure that you too, are familiar with this phenomenon).

Plastic surgery is no different in being swept up in the smartphone craze. There are now numerous iPhone and Droid apps that are designed to give your body a total makeover. People contemplating some type of surgical metamorphosis can now get to know what their post-procedure look may be thanks to these apps.

One of my favorites is called the iSurgeon Game. It combines a game mode that enables users to try their hand at surgery (sounds pretty accurate, doesn’t it?).  People can modify images ranging from lip enhancements, breast augmentations and many other improvements. Users can quickly simulate plastic surgery by easily modifying face and body features on their phone including such operations as rhinoplasty, breast augmentation, brazilian buttlifts and tummy tucks.With clever and unusual names like BodyPlastika, Modiface and FaceTouchUp, morphing a body part is becoming as easy as nuking a frozen dinner. With some of the apps, you can even turn your phone around, take your own photo and email them to the doctor with your questions.

There is a lot to be said for seeing the potential outcomes of cosmetic procedures. This is common practice in plastic surgery during a consultation and is of the greatest value in understanding what changes will occur in one’s own face. The public’s interest in this kind of personal ‘modification’ is great even if one is never going to embark on a surgical journey. While some plastic surgeons may criticize the concept of allowing patients to make changes to their own body parts- which may be wildly unrealistic and usually are-  it is certainly a fun ‘test drive’. Having patients simulate what they want creates an informative dialogue in the vein of a picture is worth a thousand words.

While the smartphone and electronic manipulation can make plastic surgery like a fun game, it is largely just that. If only surgery was as simple and predictive as morphing a few thousand pixels around. What one can do on the computer and what can actually be done in the operating room is often quite different and certainly far less precise. Let us never confuse Photoshop plastic surgery with real plastic surgery. While most people would quickly acknowledge that, a few do forget during the recovery process.

In the spirit of continual smartphone distraction, I must run now to answer an inquiry that just came in on my own iphone app, Ask My Cosmetic Surgeon.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana