Generally, before and after photos leave a lot to be desired, whether they’re from a TV infomercial for a workout machine or a magazine ad for face cream. But no before and after photos leave more to be desired—or make you feel even more uncertain—than the ones advertising cosmetic work for Botox, fillers, or other anti-aging treatments. Pictures of results sometimes use better lighting and more makeup to fake improvement, the photos are often only two-dimensional (so you can’t always see what’s changed), and, most importantly, it’s not your face in the picture. But new 3D technologies are aiming to change that. In Australia, plastic surgeon Michael Molton, with the help of a software designer, has recently developed a 3D-scanning camera called the SAFV system, that creates a topographical map of his patients’ faces. The final images can be moved side to side and up and down and are particularly ideal for previewing volume changes in the face after filler in cheeks, lips, or facial lines. And, to predict the muscle-freezing effects of Botox, Molton tells New Scientist that 3D video scanning could be next.
Other than the thrill factor of seeing a computerized version of your own visage—and wondering whether this might be the next big upgrade for iPhone 8—there’s another major benefit of 3D camera scans: You won’t lose perspective. You know those people, be they celebrities or strangers on the street, who so obviously went overboard with cosmetic procedures and you wonder how they got so off track? These before and afters help doctors track progress and could potentially provide a reality check for overeager patients who claim they don’t see improvements.
For those curious about going under the needle, the Vectra M3 from Canfield is a 3D technology that’s already available in the US, and doctors can also manipulate your rendering like a real-life Facetune to fill, shrink, and smooth so you can see what the work will look like before you decide to get it done. We can’t think of a better way to try out your own Kylie Jenner moment.
Originally featured in Allure magazine