One important device in Chicago plastic surgeon Michael Horn, MD’s toolbox is a virtual reality simulator that helps patients visualize just what they will look like before surgery and show the different shapes, sizes and contours they can achieve with cosmetic surgery. “It can simulate whether a breast surgery patient will get the results they’re envisioning with a breast lift or implants. They can use it for measurement guidance to choose the right implant size.” Seeing what is and isn’t possible is one way Dr. Horn ensures his patients get exactly what they want.
How 3-D Imaging Works
Using virtual reality, the Crisalix Virtual Aesthetics system allows patients to see the possible outcomes of their surgery from all angles. “Then, the software can calculate, based on the dimensions of the different breast implants how they would appear when placed,” he explains. “It can also simulate changes in the skin that occur from a breast lift and helps show surgeons if other areas of the body need to be lifted as well to get the best results.”
How It Helps with Decision Making
Dr. Horn says many patients may see their friend’s results and think the same implants will look identical in their own bodies, but that’s not typically the case. “They think the same implant size or profile is going to give them the same look, but how it looks depends on several variables like height, body composition and how much breast tissue you have. So, this is an accurate way of seeing how that implant will look in their body, which is great because a picture is worth a thousand words,” he says.
How long and how well a person heals is different for everyone says Dr. Horn. This virtual simulation can help patients predict what the outcome will look which adds peace of mind as the swelling and healing subside. “Not only are results more predictable, but it helps us to fine tune our surgery and save time in the operating room,” he explains. “If a patient has a breast asymmetry, then we can go over what it would look like if we used implants of the same size on both sides versus using one slightly bigger implant on the smaller side.”
The Crisalix Virtual Aesthetics simulator can also be helpful for rhinoplasties, body contouring procedures, and to show how your face will look after fillers and fat injections. “I find it extremely useful for breast implants because there’s no better way to show what the result will look like because a lot of patients have a completely different image in their heads. It gives us an opportunity to get on the same page.”
Dr. Horn says the biggest benefit is the happiness of his patients after surgery. “They’re happier with the results because the most important thing about being happy with a procedure is that what you expect to happen is what happens.”
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