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Designing a Virtual Reality Model for Aesthetic Surgery

Smith, Darren M. M.D.; Aston, Sherrell J. M.D.; Cutting, Court B. M.D.; Oliker, Aaron M.S.; Weinzweig, Jeffrey M.D.

doi: 10.1097/01.prs.0000176900.62853.b3
Cosmetic Section: Cosmetic Articles: Cosmetic: Cosmetic

Background: Aesthetic surgery deals in large part with the manipulation of soft-tissue structures that are not amenable to visualization by standard technologies. As a result, accurate three-dimensional depictions of relevant surgical anatomy have yet to be developed. This study presents a method for the creation of detailed virtual reality models of anatomy relevant to aesthetic surgery.

Methods: Two-dimensional histologic sections of a cadaver from the National Library of Medicine's Visible Human Project were imported into Alias's Maya, a computer modeling and animation software package. These two-dimensional data were then “stacked” as a series of vertical planes. Relevant anatomy was outlined in cross-section on each two-dimensional section, and the resulting outlines were used to generate three-dimensional representations of the structures in Maya.

Results: A detailed and accurate three-dimensional model of the soft tissues germane to aesthetic surgery was created. This model is optimized for use in surgical animation and can be modified for use in surgical simulators currently being developed.

Conclusions: A model of facial anatomy viewable from any angle in three-dimensional space was developed. The model has applications in medical education and, with future work, could play a role in surgi-cal planning. This study emphasizes the role of three-dimensionalization of the soft tissues of the face in the evolution of aesthetic surgery.

Providence, R.I., New York, N.Y., and Burlington, Mass.

From Brown Medical School, the Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, New York University Medical Center, the Plastic Surgery Department, Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital, and the Department of Plastic Surgery, Lahey Clinic Medical Center.

Received for publication August 3, 2004; revised December 16, 2004.

Sherrell J. Aston, M.D., 728 Park Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10021,

©2005American Society of Plastic Surgeons