Cosmetic surgery used to be something reserved for the rich and famous. It went on behind closed doors and everything was very hush hush. Nowadays, cosmetic surgery is becoming much more common, fueled in part by reduced costs and increased awareness. We’re all constantly aware of perfection all around us; it’s on billboards, on screens and in magazines.
Social media has also forced on us the idea that there is a uniformity to beauty that we should all aspire to; why else would certain Instagram filters gain such widespread popularity? Although individuals may feel more and more pressured to look a certain way, some cosmetic surgeons are doing their part to hand back control to the patient.
Virtual reality is changing the consultation process for the better, meaning that patients can make better decisions within a more sensible timeframe. Health regulators have already cracked down on patients being coerced into surgery far too quickly, and virtual reality is helping to increase these protections.
In the past, prospective patients may have been shown 2D images of how they can expect to look after their procedure. This is a very confrontational method that doesn’t always elicit an honest response. Patients may feel pressured to react a certain way and don’t have the time alone they need to process the change.
With virtual reality, the patient can step into a dressing room filled with mirrors and see a 3D rendering of what they can expect to look like. In this kind of consultation, the patient can be left alone to experience the change and prepare psychologically for the surgery.
One surgeon who is a fan of this type of consultation is Gary Ross, a leading cosmetic surgeon based in Manchester. He cites the virtual reality consultation as being popular with both patients and the surgeon. In the case of breast implants, one of the biggest benefits, according to Ross, is that it empowers the patient to choose the implant size that is right for them. It also helps patients to see immediately if the change is right for them, which helps to manage post-operative expectations.
This is just one of the ways that technology is helping to transform the cosmetic industry and help to make it safer.