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Matt Hlavacek, MD, DDS
Jason Baker, DDS



Can an app help you visualize cosmetic surgery results?

August 14, 2014, 1:05 am

cosmetic-surgery-appYou may already have experience with apps and websites that allow you to create a virtual makeover, altering your hairstyle and color, trying on new makeup, and so on. You may even have used apps or software to touch up or alter photos before posting your selfies on Facebook and Instagram. But what if you could use similar programs to virtually try out possible cosmetic surgery results? For those considering cosmetic surgery but aren’t quite sure if the outcome will be worth the investment, spending time using apps to visualize results may be useful.

How beauty apps work

Most beauty apps work by having the patient take or upload a photo of the face or body and then manipulate it in various ways to create the desired outcome. Many include filters and make use of facial tracking technology, allowing the patient to select particular body areas they can manipulate such as the eyes and nose. There are a broad range of apps and software available that range from fun programs to more serious options as well.

Beauty apps only provide approximations

Before using any app to visualize your potential plastic surgery outcomes, it is important to understand that such programs will only offer approximations. While they may give you a broad idea of how you may look after rhinoplasty or a brow lift, there are a number of factors that these apps can’t take into consideration.

Apps like these only make use of a two-dimensional representation of your three-dimensional face or body, and they aren’t able to make allowances for variations in the underlying structures beneath the skin. For example, if you are seeking plumper lips or more prominent cheekbones, an app will use visual landmarks across your face but won’t be able to map your underlying bone structure or the amount of collagen and tissue around the mouth.

When using a beauty app in planning your potential cosmetic surgery results, keep in mind that less may be more. Focus on subtle changes that will result in you still looking like yourself but just a bit improved. Instead of dramatically erasing every line and wrinkle, focus on the most prominent ones. For deep grooves and creases, focus on reducing them without completely eliminating them. If you are looking to eliminate love handles or a little belly paunch with a tummy tuck, focus on subtle slimming rather than creating a supermodel figure or a six-pack across the abdomen. By focusing on subtle changes, you may achieve a better approximation of achievable results.

The downside to beauty apps

As already mentioned, beauty apps will only provide an approximation of possible cosmetic surgery results and offer only a limited view of possible outcomes. When using such apps and programs, it may be tempting to take alterations too far, suggesting results that either aren’t advisable or that simply aren’t realistically doable. For some patients, particularly those with a neutral or negative body image, these apps should be used with caution, as they may reinforce unrealistic ideas about the body and face or create unrealistic expectations — resulting in disappointment in the end.

If you do use a beauty app and like the results you achieved through manipulating your picture, be sure to bring the image to your consultation. Your surgeon will help you to determine if the changes you are seeking are advisable, doable, and if the outcome might be close to the image created through your app.

To learn more about your cosmetic surgery options, please call Kansas City Surgical Arts today (816) 286-4126 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Matt Hlavacek. We look forward to seeing you soon.