The use of digital imaging in plastic surgery (that is, taking a photo and then changing it with a computer to show a patient what an example of a possible result looks like) is an area of great controversy. Proponents say that it is a useful adjunct to patient education, and opponents declare that it can seem like a false guarantee of results if not properly explained.
I have found digital imaging to be useful for a number of procedures in my practice, such as in rhinoplasty surgery, where imagining an appearance with certain changes can be difficult.Because we can control computer data more than real-world biological systems, I make it a point to remind patients that the images a computer produces are goals, and not an absolute representation of things to come. However this has been useful, when taken along with other means of communication, in continuing the dialogue that helps me learn as much as I can about a patient’s goals.
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