New 3D imaging helping plastic surgeons

Plastic surgery, whether it is the desire to look younger or to repair damage caused by an injury or illness, is one of the most popular among the medical practices.

In days past if you wanted a nose job, or a chin lift or even reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy you were pretty much counting on your doctor to come up with the best solution for you.

But now individualized 3D imaging is allowing doctors, right here in Michiana, to work alongside patients and give them a realistic expectation of what their outcome will be.

Kim Whittacker, 40, has just had an advanced imaging technique called Vectra 3D at the Centre PC in Mishawaka.

Kim, who was in an auto accident when she was just 17 and had to have her nose repaired, has never been happy with the outcome.

After Renee Rowe did her imaging she is meeting with Plastic Surgeon Ronald Downs to talk about her options.

3D imaging has been around a long time but Dr. Downs says this new technique gives doctors a stunningly realistic look at how they can help their patients.

“It can allow us to look at her preoperative images in a number of different plains,” explains Dr. Ronald Downs, M.D Plastic Surgeon at the Centre, P.C “What the computer will do is set certain anatomical landmarks for us in terms of adjusting her nose.”

Based on those landmarks they can look at the symmetry of her nose, for instance whether both sides of her nose are equal, whether the projection of the nose works with the chin. Also showing Kim what lowering the height of her bridge would look like.

Dr. Downs says this imaging has greatly improved surgical outcome as far as what a patient expects.

“Our correlation of the what we're seeing on this image and what we're getting in surgical results is over 90 percent,” says Dr. Downs.

Dr. Downs and Kim sit down and they can work alongside each other to make changes that will satisfy both the surgeon and patient.

Dr. Downs explains how he will take the computer imaging and make it work in surgery.

“Every movement that we have here corresponds to a surgical maneuver that we'll do in the operating room,” says Dr. Downs. “So based on those maneuvers that we'll do with the 3D imaging we'll write down a surgical plan that we'll work with that actually defines those surgical moves.”

While Kim is meeting with Dr. Downs about her nose he says this imaging is helpful for various procedures, like showing people how resurfacing the skin would change their looks or removing acne scars and wrinkles.

For women that are wanting breast augmentation or those facing a mastectomy, he says it gives them hope.

“So what we've been doing with patients is bringing them in pre mastectomy, imaging them and showing them if they are candidates for skin sparing or nipple sparing mastectomy what we would need to do to restore their volume as it is currently, or sometimes make it look a little bit better,” explains Dr. Downs.

In both cases of reconstruction and cosmetic improvements patients want to know what their outcome will be. Renee says she has noticed patients are much more comfortable after a consultation using Vectra.

“They can visualize what we are discussing with them now,” says Renee Rowe the Cosmetic Coordinator at The Centre, P.C. “Before you had to have complete faith in your surgeon. We're able to sit down, discuss it with them and actually show them what they mean and then they can take it home.”

For Kim, who has lived with a nose she wasn't born with since her accident at 17, and a suggestion from Dr. Downs that at the same time they worked on her chin, she's thrilled.

“It's wonderful,” says patient Kim Whittacker. “I can look at different pictures but everybody had different facial structures and showing him a picture of what I want may not look good on my face and so finding something that was really going to go along with my features was important.”

For Dr. Downs who has been performing both cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries for decades, this is a real game changer.

“This has revolutionized the way we go about these types of surgeries,” explains Dr. Downs.

Gives both the patients and doctor a realistic expectation of what their outcome will be.

Centre PC is the only medical office in Northern Indiana offering Vectra 3D imaging and the consultation is free.

For more information visit: Centre PC.

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