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Applications of Virtual Reality in Aesthetic Surgery

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

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: September 1st, 2005 - Volume 116 - Issue 3 - p 898-904
doi: 10.1097/01.prs.0000176901.37684.8a
Cosmetic Section: Cosmetic Articles: Cosmetic: Cosmetic

Background: Virtual reality has a long history in plastic and reconstructive surgery, with uses ranging from anatomical demonstration to craniofacial surgical planning. The purpose of this article is to add to the literature a computer graphics–based resource for aesthetic surgery.

Methods: Deformation tools, virtual cameras, and other components of Alias's Maya 4.0 were used to perform virtual surgical procedures on a detailed model of superficial facial anatomy. This three-dimensional model of superficial facial anatomy, derived from the National Library of Medicine's Visible Human Project, was also “aged” in Maya at key depths of anatomical dissection. Adobe's After Effects 5.5 was used for animation postproduction work for all animations.

Results: Three-dimensional computer animations were developed to illustrate techniques in aesthetic surgery. Another animation was created that simulates facial aging at various levels of anatomical dissection.

Conclusions: Computer modeling and animation have the potential to play an important role in education, surgical planning, development, and other aspects of aesthetic surgery.

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

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

Received for publication July 6, 2004; revised January 6, 2005.

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

©2005American Society of Plastic Surgeons