Austin plastic surgeon using new 3-D imaging technology


by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and Photojournalist Robert McMurrey

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE

Posted on October 2, 2012 at 6:25 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 3 at 7:51 AM

AUSTIN -- An Austin plastic surgeon is using new, 3-D imaging technology to help patients decide whether cosmetic surgery is right for them.

Brianna Cruz is two months away from her 16th birthday -- a day sure to be filled with lots of photos.

"A lot of teenagers are all about their looks and taking pictures and having memories," said Cruz. "I don't want to have worry about my nose in pictures."

What's not to like?

"I think this part is too narrow, and I don't really like how it goes wide on both sides," Brianna explained. She knows just the kind of nose she wants.

"So who is this, Jessica Alba," said Jennifer Walden, M.D., a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. "Tell me what you like about her nose."

"I like how it's perfectly straight," said Brianna.

With her parents' permission, Brianna consulted with Walden. More than Walden's words, it's the new 3-D imaging technology in her office that's helped Brianna decide cosmetic surgery is for her.

Walden is the first plastic surgeon in Austin to use the Vectra 3D camera.  

"It's an exciting new technology that can really help with preoperative planning, managing patient expectations and showing prospective patients what they will look like before the first incision is even made," said Walden.

The Vectra 3D takes three simultaneous photos of the patient. Then, in just a matter of minutes, almost like sand filling an hourglass in reverse, those photos begin forming a three-dimensional image of the patient on the computer monitor.  

"Before we could do very little," said Walden. "We could show before and afters to patients. We could morph or change the two-dimensional profile view and take the bump off a nose for example, but we couldn't change the entire nose in three-dimensional and show that result to a patient."   

The Vectra 3D allows Dr. Walden to alter the image in 3-D, thus giving prospective patients a more realistic view of what they'll look like after surgery -- from multiple viewpoints at that. No matter what the angle, Brianna likes what she sees.

"It kind of made me really excited to see what I was going to look like later," Brianna said. "It helped me figure out what all is wrong, what needs to be fixed and what they're going to do later and how they're going to do it."

Again, KVUE would like to stress Brianna has the blessing of both of her parents to have the surgery.  Dr. Walden says by 16, most girls' ears and noses are fully grown, so cosmetic surgery at that age for those areas is acceptable.

Click here for more information about the Vectra 3D on Dr. Walden's website.

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