Is computer imaging reliable for secondary rhinoplasty?

I need to undergo a revision after my first rhinoplasty. I will probably need rib cartilage. Is computer imaging still reliable also for secondary rhinoplasty? Or are the results less predictable?

Doctor Answers 7

Computer imaging

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Sweetblondy, computers do not know how to perform surgery and are in general misleading at best. I perform the "imaging" reluctantly when forced and only to convey principles. Look at your surgoens photos and make sure they specialize and have years of experience. Good luck!

Charlotte Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Beware of rib cartilage

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There is an unexplanaible trend or group of surgeons prone to de-ribize people at the minimal opportunity in revision rhinoplasties. Well, I can tell you that 2 decades of my practice and many many revision rhinoplasties done (it is one of my specialities), I had to turn to rib grafts only once, and believe me... I am pretty invassive doing my repairs (only way to achieve good resuts in botched cases).

Computing imaging is a helpful tool, and is as realistic as realistic may be the surgeon doing the simulation.

Alejandro Nogueira, MD
Spain Plastic Surgeon

Secondary rhinoplasty is less predictable

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 A secondary rhinoplasty involves previous surgery and scar tissue formation, therefore it is more unpredictable  in the healing process.  Computer imaging can be performed which is a communication tool between the surgeon and the patient. It is not a guarantee of results. In certain circumstances, computer imaging can help you with the anticipated surgical results would look like with a secondary rhinoplasty

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

Computer imaging for rhinoplasty

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Computer imaging is never 100% reliable, even in the best hands. Apart from the limits of the technology itself, computer imaging is also very operator-dependent, and the quality of the images that are generated is strictly linked to the experience of the surgeon that makes them. With a secondary rhinoplasty everything becomes even more difficult, so do not see the pictures as a reliable preview of the result that you will get.

Ciro Adamo, PhD, MD
Italy Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Computer imaging

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Hello sweetblondy,

Computer imaging is meant to act as a tool to verify you have mutual goals with your surgeon.  It is not a guaranty of a result.  It should be considered as more of an educational tool.  It's ability to provide information is as useful for a secondary rhinoplasty as it is for a primary rhinoplasty. 

I hope this helps and good luck. 

William Marshall Guy, MD
The Woodlands Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews


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I use computer imaging to assist me in reaching my goals in the OR and communicating with the patient,pre-op, what my goals are. They are not a guarantee of results

Dennis Barek, MD (retired)
Great Neck Plastic Surgeon

Computer Imaging Reliability for Secondary Rhinoplasty

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Thank you so much for your question. In general, computer-morphed photos are not viewed as a guaranteed post-operative result. They give the patient an idea of the result they may achieve following a revision rhinoplasty. These images are meant as a guide to follow during surgery. They also serve as a fantastic communication tool between the patient and surgeon. We recommend an in-person consultation with a board certified rhinoplasty specialist, as he/she will be able to better explain what you may expect from your surgery. I hope this information helps, and I wish you the best of luck

Paul S. Nassif, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 49 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.