It seems like technology is finding its way into every aspect of our lives these days. We have voice assistants in our homes that can answer all of our questions, virtual reality apps that can allow us to journey to new places from our couches, and smartphones that allow us to connect to the outside world at any moment.
But one area that often gets overlooked is the use of technology in the medical fields. Every day new technology is coming out that aims to either improve our medical capabilities or help patients make better decisions. Thanks to new technology, we have been able to save thousands of lives and improve the quality of life for thousands more. One new example of this is the use of augmented reality in plastic surgery.
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality is the use of technology to implant information – such as text or graphics – on the world around you. For example, if you had an augmented reality app on your phone, it would show the world through your phone’s camera, but with text and images on the screen as well. These text and images would interact with the live feed of the camera’s view, adjusting as the camera moved.
Augmented reality is often confused with virtual reality, but they are different things. Virtual reality aims to create an entirely generated image to view, while augmented reality simply adds to the real-life view around you. For some great examples of augmented reality, you can check out this article.
How Is Augmented Reality Being Used in Plastic Surgery?
For a long time, augmented reality was mainly used for mobile games or travel apps. For instance, you could open up your phone while on a trip and learn about the sites around you. Or you could play games which would encourage you to go out and explore the world around you (Example: Pokemon Go). Now however, the technology is being used for more practical purposes – namely in plastic or cosmetic surgery.
With the help of augmented reality, patients are able to see what their surgeries will look like before they take place. The augmented reality technology can show how different breast implants or breast reductions will impact their bodies, and doctors can go through various options with their clients in real-time. This gives them a better idea as to what changes they are actually making to their bodies, and how they will look when they are complete. With this information patients can make more informed decisions and as a result be happier with the final product.
Who Is Providing Augmented Reality for Plastic Surgery?
One of the major companies providing augmented reality technology for plastic surgeons is ILLUSIO. ILLUSIO is a medical software company based out of San Clemente, California. According to Rohit Varma, a new member of the ILLUSIO board of directors, “It is truly remarkable to see how ILLUSIO is building the technology to change the way surgeons and patients make decisions together before, during and after transformative breast surgery.”
Currently, ILLUSIO works with particular ILLUSIO-qualified plastic surgeons, but they are looking to expand into community hospitals and various academic medical centers. Their goal is to make their technology more widely available so that more people can benefit from the information it provides before making any decisions regarding their bodies.
What the Future Holds
Technological advances and medicine have always gone hand in hand. But with the improvements made in computers and software, the possibilities for augmented reality in medicine have grown exponentially. Using augmented reality before plastic surgery is only the beginning.
For instance, it may soon be possible for surgeons to use augmented reality while they are operating. Using headwear that shows information over what their eyes are seeing, surgeons will have more information at their fingertips while they operate. As any surgeon will tell you, once you start operating, things can get messy. Mistakes happen, but anything that can be done to reduce these mistakes would be welcome. Augmented reality may be the solution. If you’d like to find out more about how augmented reality is helping in the medical profession, this article has some good information.
Hopefully the technology will continue to improve, and the companies behind them will continue to grow. If so, it won’t be long before augmented reality is being used in hospitals, operating rooms, and doctors’ offices all across the country, rather than just for mobile games or travel apps. The result will more lives saved and even more lives improved.