When it comes to plastic surgery, can you try before you buy?

When it comes to plastic surgery, can you try before you buy?
When it comes to plastic surgery, can you try before you buy?

If you’re anything like me, you need a Xanax before you settle into the hairdresser’s chair. You prepare for a heart-to-heart conversation about how long, how layered, how blunt, and how edgy. You want to establish rapport, a single aesthetic vision. You want her to like you, so she doesn’t butcher your hair.

She, on the other hand, wants to eat her Pad Thai, which beckons from the back room. So she makes short shrift of you, reducing the hair consult to its simplest elements, reassuring you that she knows exactly what you want. Then you sit, sweating, before she drapes you in plastic, cutting off your windpipe.

If this is the level of fear and dread with which you approach a haircut, can you imagine how you (or I) approach plastic surgery? The big difference between plastic surgery and a haircut is that your hair will grow back but not your nose. So much for Pinocchio.

But, there is a light on the horizon. Now, there is a way to try on a new face. Yes, I mean, “try before you buy.” I am writing in the hope that a hairdresser sees this and adopts this consultation method.

Business Insider reports on a technology that when used effectively and patiently during plastic surgery consultations can put patient and surgeon on the same page about surgical end results. That technology is called “morphing.”

Morphing uses image manipulation software to give you a picture of what you will look like with, for example, a smaller nose. First, multiple photographs of you are taken. Once your image is up on the screen, your plastic surgeon can tweak it using technology to change your facial features. You can ask to see how you would look with more or less jaw, a higher or lower brow, a narrower or wider nose, plumper lips, etc. Once you see yourself altered, you can decide if you want results that are more or less extreme. Do you see how great this would be with hair?

A New York plastic surgeon makes good use of this technology. On the day of surgery he reviews the morphed images with his patients and during surgery he keeps checking these images to make sure he will deliver the results that the patient wants. Surprisingly, his patient coordinator reports that patients are frequently sorry that their choices were too conservative.
The morphing has actually increased the number of his consultations who then go ahead to schedule surgery. He believes that patients are encouraged to proceed once they see the potential results in their morphed image.

There is a strange curiosity related to this technique. The Business Insider journalist describes that after all the tweaking, when she once again looked at the untouched version of her face, she thought “That’s not me.” In other words, she was already identifying with the “after” or tweaked version of her face.

The bottom line for me is: “Where is the hair dresser who will sit down with me and morph until we can agree on a plan?” Until then, you can find me standing in front of my bathroom sink, wielding my scissors in do-it-yourself defiance.

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