Is It a Red Flag if a Surgeon Does Not Use Digital Imaging?

I've had a consultation with a well-regarded surgeon for a rhinoplasty, but he doesn't use digital imaging. Should I be concerned? Do most plastic surgeons use this tool, and if they don't, should I stay away? Thanks!

Doctor Answers 23

Digital Imaging Before Rhinoplasty

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That is an interesting question.  Digital imaging is a tool that allows the surgeon to visually alter the shape of the nose in any way.  We have all seen Photoshopped images that we know can't possible be true.  So the visual image may not be the whole truth.

Digital imaging is best done with a surgeon who can discuss each planned change and use the image to give you an idea (and only an idea) of the final result.  You must keep in mind that even though your surgeon can 'draw' a digital result it is only through experience and skill that the result can be realized.

Lastly, realize some surgeons just don't like the excessive use of technology.  I know an older surgeon that I would be happy to let operate on me and he draws out proposed changes with a sharpie right over your printed photograph.  Best of luck to you.

Lawrenceville Plastic Surgeon

Is It a Red Flag if a Surgeon Does Not Use Digital Imaging?

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Very good question. Digital, 3-D imaging of patients and "possible" results are ONLY a sales tool in my opinion. The imaged produce can not be reproduced in real life. It is an example of "how you MIGHT look" . But this in many patients minds is an implied guarantee. Thus legally there is a fine line if using these tools that the patients NEED to understand. And the prudent PS makes sure the patient is informed that the digital image can not be construed as a result of the surgery. Therefore I agree with Dr Mayer it is the surgeon's skill and OTHER results the patient should be intune with. I personally do not use these tools. Hope that helps. 

Rhinoplasty and digital imaging

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When you are considering a rhinoplasty you are looking for a surgeon- remember that. What is possible on digital imaging may not be possible in an operating theatre, and the person who can do digital imaging may not be able to do a rhinoplasty.


All surgeons want to communicate with their patients and digital imaging is just one way.  Some surgeons will use it and others may not, it does not make one surgeon better than the other.


Remember you are looking for a good surgeon, look at before and after results on other patients, listen to if the surgeon is hearing what your goals are. Digital imaging will not replace good surgical technique and a surgeon who listens.


Jeremy Hunt .


Computer imaging for Rhinoplasty is important but not an indication of skill of the plastic surgeon

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Computer imaging for Rhinoplasty is important but not an indication of skill of the plastic surgeon.  It is very important for you and your plastic surgeon to be on the same page with the same goals and without computer imaging it is nearly impossible to visualize the potential changes so when the cast comes off at the one week, even if he has done an outstanding rhinoplasty, you may or may not like the results.  

Shervin Naderi, MD, FACS
Washington DC Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 119 reviews

Digital imaging and surgical results.

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Digital imaging is a tool that some surgeons use. It has nothing to do with the surgical results the surgeon may get on real people. Your best judge of the surgeon is his surgical results on other patients by meeting with them in real life or if that is not possible by seeing long-term before and after photographs.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Video imaging is useful but not necessary for rhinoplasty.

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I think video imaging is a very useful patient education to before rhinoplasty. This however is nothing to do with the skills of the surgeon.

Digital imaging for rhinoplasty

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It is not a red flag if a surgeon chooses not to use digital imaging as part of the consultation. I prefer not to use it but instead will draw on photos taken of the patient taken in the office. Some docs think that the digital manipulation can imply too much of an expected result even though there are statements to the contrary. I also prefer to show patient examples of similar problems as samples of what can be done. Experience and communication and the most important.

Computer morphing

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Computer imaging is a nice tool to set realistic patients for the patient, and also to get the patient and the surgeon on the same page with regard to aesthetic preferences and goals.  It's just one of many tools available to the surgeon, and some terrific surgeons prefer not to use it.  Base your decision on your surgeon's qualifications, results and the rapport you have with him/her rather than on the use of computer imaging.   

Donald B. Yoo, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Digital Imaging Software is a Convenience, Not Necessity

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Many plastic surgeons in today’s world, including myself, have an office equipped with digital imaging software. This technology allows a computerized image of the nose to be virtually manipulated and can give the patient and doctor a means to create a realistic goal for the rhinoplasty. Still, this equipment is by no means a staple of every surgeon’s office and a surgeon who does not offer it does not necessarily translate into a “red flag.” In this case, you may want to ask to see before and after photos of past patients to get a better understanding of the surgeon’s work. It is more important that the surgeon you are consulting is board certified and is experienced in the realm of rhinoplasty surgery.

Sam Rizk, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 79 reviews

Is digital imaging required for those considering a rhinoplasty (nose Job)?

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I wanted to add my two cents here. 

Personally, I believe the importance of digital imaging is communication. It allows the patient and physician to get on the same level and ensure we are both thinking the same thing. It allows you to make changes to the nose and see what it looks like. I think even with the best surgeon, if you dont see what they are thinking, although you may get a good result in the surgeons eyes, it may not be what you wanted. 

Remember, digital imaging is just a GUIDE it is not a guarantee. Its sole purpose is for communication. 

I've posted a link to an article on this below. 

James P. Bonaparte, MD, MSc, FRCSC
Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

James Bonaparte, MD, MSc, FRCSC
Ottawa Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 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.