The Surgeon Minute

3D Imaging and Breast Augmentation

3D Imaging and Breast Augmentation

3D imaging isn’t just reinvigorating your local cineplex, it’s completely changing how surgeons communicate with patients during their breast augmentation consultation. A breast augmentation is hands down the most popular cosmetic procedure in the world. It’s a fairly comparatively quick operation – both in the OR and recovery – that can completely change a woman’s life.

It’s fast in the OR because the biggest hurdle has already been leapt: picking the right implant for your individual body and desired outcome. 3D imaging allows you to see how every implant will actually look like on your body. Dr. Clifford P. Clark III of Winter Park, FL discusses why 3D imaging is such a game changer in this regard.

3D Imaging – A Total Game Changer

3D Imaging  has, “really been a game changer,” says Dr. Clark. “Everybody knows that they want to make an improvement, but they’re not exactly sure what exactly they’re looking for, so they go on to the internet and see someone else’s breasts and they think that’s what they’re looking for.” But just because you see something you like does not mean that size and shape of breast will be attainable for you. Surgeons have to work within the confines of your anatomy.

Vectra 3D imaging.

“What I really want to show [patients] is what their particular breasts will look like with some of the options available to them,” explains Clark. Surgeons like to size implants based on the width of patient’s chest wall. Once that is determined, an implant can be chosen in terms of project and volume, with each delivering its own unique look.

Before the days of 3D imaging, it was really difficult for patients to determine which look was right for them partly because there are actually multiple options that work for each patient. However with this virtual visual aid, patients can “try out” each option. The right one is really going to come down to personal taste and desired outcome.

Breast augmentation before and afters.

Try Before You Buy

3D imaging helps patient to define the right fit for them and where they want to go artistically. Bottom line, it delivers the right breast for their individual body. As Clark likes to say, “[patients] like to try before they buy.” Surgeons are always striving to decrease the need for further operations. When Clark first started his career, the number of women who had a second operation to the breast was way too high and if you looked at the reason why, it was mostly to exchange the implant size. Now, “I can’t remember the last time we had to exchange the implant just based on size,” says Clark, believing this is largely thanks to 3D imaging.

Vectra 3D imaging before and afters.

Patient education is key and 3D imaging helps patients to understand the options available to them and to virtually “see” what these options will look like on their chest. This process helps to invest the patient in the decision making process. Obviously, a surgeon isn’t going to allow a patient to make a decision that won’t work for her, but, “it’s my belief that most patients can have more than one treatment choice,” says Clark.

It used to be that a patient went to a big breast doctor if that was what she wanted or a little breast doctor. Clark admits, “I’m happy to do whatever works and I want to show you what that looks like.” Furthermore, if a patient has an aesthetic desire that is not achievable due to their anatomy then he can counsel the patient right away that this is not going to work. Or if they have aesthetic desire that’s easy to achieve using a little different implant than the one they think they want then that’s where 3D imaging can really make a difference.

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