NEW YORK (CBS 2) -- The holiday season is one of the busiest times of year for plastic surgeons – their patients can take off time from work and recover without others wondering where they are.
As CBS 2's Dr. Max Gomez reports, a new computer technology now allows patients to see exactly what they'd look like after cosmetic surgery.
The new system is called Vectra, and it may be a positive force in our beauty-obsessed culture, where many aspire to have the hips, thighs, bust nose and eyes of models and actresses.
The trouble is – patients have unrealistic expectations of the outcome.
Dr. Gary Breslow is a plastic surgeon at the Breslow Center for Plastic Surgery.
"[Patients] come in with pictures of their friends or pictures of models or magazines and they say, 'I want this.'"
But a model's nose, lips and hips may not fit your body – and this new technology can help patients see this.
Vectra takes multiple 3D photos of the particular body area you're thinking about having work on.
Using specialized software, Dr. Breslow can then modify the patient's own image to show them what their surgery will look like, from all different angles.
"It lets you see the results before the procedure's even done," said plastic surgery patient Michelle Brinksma. "It's just amazing to see what you look like after."
For breast augmentation, the system can show what every size and shape implant on the market will look like – although a patient would see herself without a bra.
As amazing and useful as the technology is, it has to be used properly.
"I can do anything on the computer, but I can't do anything in surgery," said Dr. Breslow. "And if I make an image that is not realistic, then I'm not doing my job very well."
The Vectra system is also useful to show patients what they would look like with non-surgical procedures, like injectable fillers and laser skin rejuvenation.
Check out the video to see what the system did with Dr. Gomez' nose:
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