3-D technology: State-of-the-art imaging system increases photographic accuracy

November 1, 2008

The state-of-the-art 3-D imaging system known as Lifeviz raises the bar in the management of acne and rosacea lesions by allowing the clinician to visualize much more accurately lesion images and, therefore, better follow the treatment progress of patients.

Key Points

National report - A novel 3-D photography technology, Lifeviz (QuantifiCare, Oakland, Calif.), is proving to be a very useful tool for accurately imaging acne and rosacea lesions.

According to one expert, this unique 3-D imaging technology can significantly assist the dermatologist in not only imaging each lesion in the smallest detail, but also help the clinician follow the patient's treatment progress much more accurately.

"This unique 3-D camera system takes lesion photography to a higher level by producing exquisitely high-resolution 3-D images that are extremely helpful in the assessment of facial acne and rosacea lesions.

Mapping the surface

When viewing rosacea or acne lesions taken with the Lifeviz camera, the clinician sees photos that are basically maps of the surface of the skin.

Though 2-D standardized digital photography has seen advancements in imaging techniques, such as the optimal lighting and angle of an image, this system allows the physician to better judge the extent of disease through its 3-Dcolor images.

"With a single snapshot, the Lifeviz system provides instant 3-D visualization and quantitative accurate measurements, which facilitates patient diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. The 3-D images allow you to get accurate imaging of the depth and, therefore, volume measurements," says Gregory Klein, Ph.D., president of QuantifiCare, Oakland, Calif.

Passive stereo vision

Similar to the human visual system, Lifeviz technology is based on the concept of passive stereo vision. The handheld camera system is a standard 35 mm camera with a specialized lens that is used to obtain two views at slightly different angles. Camera calibration and computation of corre-sponding points allow the production of a complete 3-D surface representation.

The camera is then linked to a software system where one can view objects (such as the lesions on the skin) and manage and archive their images.

The technology was initially developed for the calculation of wound volume in wound treatments, as well as a non-contact way to take depth measurements of wounds, such as scars, diabetic leg ulcers and burns.

Cosmetic uses

According to Dr. Klein, the cosmetic sector is beginning to show great interest in this technology, as it can also be very useful in "before" and "after" imaging and measurement with many aesthetic procedures, including filler treatments and techniques, lip enhancement, nasolabial fold procedures, breast enhancement, body contouring, and scar, keloid and wound treatments.

This precise imaging also can prove to be very useful in increasing patient satisfaction and physician-patient communication by clearly depicting and verifying the progress and results of a given treatment or procedure.

"The 'before' and 'after' shots taken in cosmetic procedures are not only able to help the clinician make semi-quantitative estimates based upon the system's realistic imaging, but (they) can also detect quantitative volume changes, such as demonstrating that lip volume has increased compared to baseline values.

"The color-coded map can precisely and very effectively show these changes, which underscores its value as a marketing tool for patients," Dr. Klein tells Dermatology Times.

According to Dr. Bikowski, the state-of-the-art Lifeviz system can be an extremely effective marketing tool, whether it is used clinically for "before" and "after" imaging of acne and rosacea lesions or for its increasingly popular niche in the world of aesthetic medicine.

"I believe it will be an invaluable teaching and testing tool, because 3-D images will more accurately portray the skin condition/disease than 2-D images," Dr. Bikowski says.