Great expectations

September 1, 2008

Seeing is believing - and where cosmetic surgery is concerned, that can be a problem in setting your expectations.

Seeing is believing - and where cosmetic surgery is concerned, that can be a problem in setting your expectations.

Advances in technology have made it possible to "try out" different cosmetic procedures and to see what you could look like with a change in weight, hairstyle or color using available software programs. For instance, you can upload your own picture to a tool such as LiftMagic to get an idea of how you might look after a certain procedure.

LiftMagic (Modiface Inc.) is a free online system where anyone can upload his or her picture and "try on" various cosmetic procedures - with the possible results shown on that individual's picture.

"Although Modiface is not meant to replace the tools being used by plastic surgeons in their clinics," explains Parham Aarabi, Ph.D., CEO of Modiface Inc., and professor and Canada Research Chair, University of Toronto, "it aims to address all of those 'what if' questions that people have."

Dr. Aarabi further explains that "...Our tools were fun and interactive visualizations for anyone to try, but not guaranteed or 100 percent accurate visualizations. After two years and over a million people having used our tools, I am glad that most of our users have understood exactly what our technology is and what it can and cannot do."

He explains that surgeons have always had to manage patients' expectations, and advances in technology doesn't change that.

"We simply provide a visual answer to anyone's 'what if' questions. We do not aim to sell any particular surgery or procedure. Our tools fall mainly in the pre-consultation path, where our automated single-click solutions allow people to try different cosmetic procedures, weight changes, hairstyles and colors, and so forth."

Ultimately, patients need to remember - and perhaps be reminded - that outcome is in the hands of the surgeon and the patients' individual circumstances - not the software.