Cosmetic surgery and procedures help millions of people a year live happier lives. How will emerging technologies support an industry connected to physical and mental wellbeing?
Dr. Philip J. Miller is a Facial Plastic Surgeon in New York who is using Microsoft’s HoloLens to do two specific things – reduce patient anxiety and produce better results. Early results have Dr. Miller excited for the future; “Using [HoloLens] I am able to better transfer the three-dimensional imagery we’ve created of the patient’s intended results into a real-time assessment during surgery. The HoloLens allows me to take that three-dimensional file, and overlay the 3-D image that the patient and I created, on top of the patient themselves to see how well the intended and actual results compare and where more work needs to be done.” Miller estimates he has already seen a 20% decrease in operating room time and a 25% increase in patient satisfaction. Both statistics not be sniffed at when you consider the financial and emotional burden of surgery on the individual and the economy.
3D morphing software is replacing 2D software because of the greater visualisation potential although Miller is honest about the technology’s infancy; “It is still early days…we’re still working out the kinks…but HoloLens enables me to assess the results in real-time on the operating room table and that’s better for patients every step of the way.”
Stem cells, needle-less injections, mixed reality and 3D printing offer us new ways of thinking about health and humanity. The future of all of these technologies is anything but certain thanks to ethical and cost issues (currently). Health remains an interesting space and a burgeoning area that technology and the startup world are starting to fixate on improving whether that is services or new options. The future of cosmetic surgery (and surgery in general) is somewhere between synthetic skin and transhumanism. From biohackers that want to augment the human experience to 3D printing human hearts that were created in a sterile workshop, the future might be less biologically human but we might just be happier humans.