Artificial intelligence is slowly but steadily making its place in the field of cosmetic surgery. Many believe that it is on its way to transforming medicine. However, this field is yet to be explored in detail, as researchers are still working on identifying ways AI can improve patients’ experiences and outcomes when it comes to complex plastic procedures.
How AI works
AI uses its detailed facial image database in order to assess the situation. It combines the database with measurements of a patient’s facial ratio and then gives useful information to the surgeon about the best possible course of action regarding the surgery. During the process, it includes indicators such as skin color, skin evenness and facial symmetry to provide an objective assessment. It also provides a real-time simulation to enable the patient to see how they will look after the procedure.
With the use of AI, patients can see how different their appearance will be post-op. Many patients have unrealistic expectations about what a plastic surgery can do for them, so they need to be aware of the real situation and the achievable outcome. In this way, AI prevents patients from undergoing an unpleasant or expensive surgery which will not live up to their expectations.
AI also makes the surgeon’s job easier – it provides a large amount of clinical data on every patient before the first consultation. This is possible because the data accumulates over time, so the patient’s medical history will also show patterns characteristic for each patient. The surgeon will also have an insight into the patient’s lifestyle and habits, which helps to create the overall impression of the patient and possibilities for treatment.
Not only that, AI is also able to detect problems very soon, as well as to make a more precise diagnosis if a patient reports an issue. It predicts the speed of the treatment and also monitors the process of the treatment to the very end.
Benefits in various plastic surgery fields
The majority of people think that plastic surgery refers only to cosmetics and aesthetics. However, this field of medicine is much wider than that – it includes managing burns, reconstructions after an accident, treating skin cancer and dealing with congenital defects like cleft lips.
All of these procedures are supported by the use of AI. The experts in cosmetic and plastic surgery state that AI allows them to enhance the final outcome of any procedure through images and videos it provides. The significance of AI in every part of the field is slightly different, but important nevertheless:
- Burn care – AI asses very precisely the total surface of the burnt skin, which is the key to proper treatment. As well as that, it makes informed predictions on whether the skin will heal without a surgical procedure.
- Hand transplant – hands and arms are complex parts of a human body. An injured arm can greatly affect a person’s quality of life. There are usually two choices – to have a prosthetic limb or a hand transplant. To determine which option is more appropriate, a number of factors have to be included. AI makes the choice easier – artificial neural networks help in designing automated controllers for different neuroprostheses. As hands are highly sensitive, perceiving touch, and precise in their movements, surgeons can also collect data from the devices, which allows them to come up with improved prosthetics later on.
- Craniofacial surgery – this type of surgery means moving the bones, muscles, and skin of the skull. Conditions such as craniosynostosis, characteristic for newborns, are possible to treat by performing a craniofacial surgery that reshapes their skull. AI is useful here because it can classify the shape of a baby’s skull, thus identifying early signs of the condition. This way, children don’t have to be exposed to too many X-rays and CT scans in order to make the diagnosis.
- Skin cancer – AI is able to catch skin cancer in its early stage. Actually, it is even more accurate than dermatologists in this case, and faster, which greatly affects the outcome of the illness. Whole-body photographic scanners that are being developed are using AI to detect various skin cancers.
All in all – which is better?
So, can AI substitute a human eye completely? Will our sight become obsolete as a tool for assessing the situation when it comes to complex plastic surgeries? Of course not. The sophisticated algorithms are an enormous help in the whole process, but a human eye is a necessity. Although AI is very accurate at identifying beauty standards, it is up to the surgeon to decide whether that standard will be realized, together with the patient. AI is actually a significant addition to a trained human eye, giving the surgeon information they could not possibly detect themselves. But in the end, it is just a tool for humans to use.