Facial Analysis Before Plastic Surgery

As a plastic surgeon, analyzing a patient’s face before surgery is obviously important. For anti-aging facial plastic surgery, a great detailed analysis of a patient’s face is not usually necessary as you are ‘nipping and tucking’ loose sagging skin…essentially trying to restore their look of years ago. For plastic surgery involving actual changes in the foundation of the face (moving bone or adding implants), however, a detailed analysis is much more important.

Analyzing facial asymmetries or how the face may look after implant augmentation has much greater significance than a typical facelift patient for example. In this type of facial patient, you are really changing the way they look. While that may be what the patient desires, some patients may find the change different or troubling after surgery. I have found this issue to be particularly relevant in the patient who receives multiple facial implants or other foundational facial changes. Over the years, I have had more than one patient who required revisions of facial implants because of changes that they could not accept even though I and others may have found them to be a good improvement.

Any form of facial analysis before plastic surgery that helps the surgeon and patient have a better understanding of potential outcomes is always welcome. I have come across recently a novel website service that provides facial analysis at a very low cost. At Thatsmyface.com, they offer free online facial analysis and facial statues. Based on a frontal and profile view that you upload into their server, they will generate a facial profile which includes your face aged 10, 20 or 40 years, your face in different ethnicities and sexes, your caricature, identify facial asymmetries, give you an attractiveness rating, and compare yourself to others that may look like you. In addition, you can have customized 3-D statues made. All for very reasonable costs of $29 and up.

I find this website service to be potentially very useful for a small subset of my facial patients. Rather than using black and white photographs with hand-drawn grids on them or other methods of tabletop analysis, this form of facial profile analysis is more detailed and accurate with a quick turnaround time. I or the patients can do it themselves.

While no form of preoperative assessment or computer imaging can guarantee any surgical outcome, any method that allows better presurgical analysis or improve surgeon-patient communication and understanding is valuable.