Do plastic surgeons use computer simulations? How would I go about finding one that did? (Photo)

I'd like to see a picture of me with various sized implants to help me make up my mind. How would I find a doctor that has this software?

Doctor Answers 10

Choosing a Breast Implant Size

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Look for a board-certified plastic surgeon with good before-and-after photos and call the office to see if they offer computer imaging.

In my own practice, I've found the Rice Test to be particularly useful because patients can do this at home and really get a sense of what a particular size will look like. The can compare photos of themselves in different sizes and different outfits. When patients decide their final volume, some will go to a shopping center or someplace with a lot of reflective windows to see their reflection.

The goal is for patients to see themselves objectively as if they were looking at someone else and can ask, "Do I like that look?"

You can do the Rice Test in addition to computer imaging and trying on implants in the office.

Click on the link below to find out how to do the Rice Test.

Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

3D photography is powerful for educating patients and improving surgical outcomes

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Aesthetic surgical treatments like facelifts, rhinoplasty, and breast augmentation help restore the well being of women. Lack of knowledge about the treatment options, and anticipation of the unknown can be a significant source of confusion, doubt, and anxiety.  Patients typically seek information from physicians, friends, and other patients, and often fill in gaps in knowledge by searching the internet. Three-dimensional (3D) photography is a powerful tool, both for educating patients and improving surgical outcomes.

Neil Tanna, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon

Look for Vectra 3D Imaging.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Plastic surgeons who offer Vectra 3D Imaging can show you a variety of options so you can see the exact difference between one implant size and another and how they will look on your body. The dimensions shown aren’t stock images, but are based on your own proportions and measurements for a very accurate idea of how your post-surgery figure will appear. Not only can 3D imaging show the difference between sizes, but the technology is advanced enough that even variances such as implant placement, type of implant (saline or silicone) and other factors can all be tweaked for a very accurate final result. Finally, be sure to choose a board certified plastic surgeon who performs a high number of breast augmentations, as experience is key in ensuring the best possible outcome.

Computer imaging

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Selecting a surgeon based on whether or not they do computer imaging is not the right approach, in my opinion.  Go to a few surgeons and look at cases they have done which are similar to you and ask what size implants they have.  I believe that us much more realistic and practical in choosing implant size.  

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

How to Find a Plastic Surgeon Who Offers Breast Augmentation Imaging

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Go to and put in your location or zip code.
I find computer imaging to be a nice educational tool. The images come very close to simulating the final result.
Choosing an implant size depends on objective measurements of the width of the breast and degree of skin laxity as well as soft-tissue coverage. This is likely to result in a durable result with a low risk of re-operation.  The size determined by this method can then be placed in the computer.
It is not recommended to choose a size without careful matching to the invidual patient's anatomy.

Robert M. Lowen, MD
Mountain View Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Plastic surgeons and computer simulations

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Computer simulations can be helpful, but depending on the software it can be very misleading. Many surgeons no longer believe that computer simulations are in the patients best interests. You will need to call the surgeons before your consultation and ask if and what system they use.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Computer simulations to help pick the perfect implant

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Great question. The best simulator available is the Vectra 3D imaging system. This high tech camera takes a 3D photo of your body, then allows us to show you what you would look like with any implant on the market. This helps you figure out which implants are too small, too large, and just right. The system is expensive, so not many practices have it. We are fortunate to have one and we consider it a very helpful tool for our patients who are planning breast surgery.

Dr. J

Justin West, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews


{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Thank you for your question and though I use imaging I have found putting implants in a bra under a tight tee shirt gives patients an excellent idea how they may look following surgery

Dr Corbin

Frederic H. Corbin, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Do plastic surgeons use computer simulations? How would I go about finding one that did?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Thank you for the question and pictures.  Based on your photographs, I think that you are starting at good place and should have a very nice outcome with breast augmentation surgery. I do not think that you will have a hard time finding well experienced board-certified plastic surgeons who utilize computer imaging in their practices. Personally, I find that it is a very helpful communication tool during the consultation process. Generally speaking, the best online advice I can give to ladies who are considering  breast augmentation surgery (regarding breast implant size/profile selection) is:
1. Concentrate on choosing your plastic surgeon carefully.  Concentrate on appropriate training, certification, and the ability of the plastic surgeon to achieve the results you are looking for. Ask to see lots of examples of his/her work. Sometimes, it is necessary to seek several consultations before you feel comfortable about your choice.
2. Have a full discussion and communication regarding your desired goals  with your plastic surgeon. This communication will be critical in determining  breast implant size/type/profile will most likely help achieve your goals. 
In my practice, the use of photographs of “goal” pictures (and breasts that are too big or too small) is very helpful. I have found that the use of words such as  “natural” or "C or D cup”  etc means different things to different people and therefore prove unhelpful.
 Also, as you know, cup size varies depending on him who makes the bra; therefore, discussing desired cup  size may also be inaccurate. Again, best not to discuss your goals and/or judge the outcome of the procedure performed based on achieving a specific cup size.  Again, the use of computer imaging may be very helpful during the communication process.
3.  Once you feel you have communicated your goals clearly,  allow your plastic surgeon to use his/her years of experience/judgment to choose the breast implant size/profile that will best meet your goals.  Again, in my practice, this decision is usually made during surgery. I generally select appropriate breast implant size/profile after the use of temporary intraoperative sizers and viewing the patient's chest in the upright and supine positions.
I hope this (and the attached link,  dedicated to breast augmentation surgery concerns) helps. You will find an additional page, devoted to "African American Surgery” on the same website. Best wishes.

Breast sizing and the use of computer imaging

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
I have found the new Mentor implant sizing system to be extremely helpful for my patients to select the size they wish.  I combine this with the latest state of the art computer imaging device known as the Vectra 3D XT.   This imaging device helps my patient's see their result before the surgery.  The use of this visual aid and the Mentor breast sizing system has been spot on as far as patient satisfaction.  They not only see but feel the weight of the implants they are selecting.  Other methods such as stuffing breast implants or using rice is not as accurate.  By using these two devices I can say with a high degree of certainty my patients are very happy with the results they have chosen. 

Benjamin Chu, MD, FACS
Honolulu Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 107 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.