The Evolution of Photography and Three-Dimensional Imaging in Plastic Surgery

Jason M. Weissler, Carrie S. Stern, Jillian E. Schreiber, Bardia Amirlak, Oren M. Tepper

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Summary: Throughout history, the technological advancements of conventional clinical photography in plastic surgery have not only refined the methods available to the plastic surgeon, but have invigorated the profession through technology. The technology of the once traditional two-dimensional photograph has since been revolutionized and refashioned to incorporate novel applications, which have since become the standard in clinical photography. Contrary to traditional standardized two-dimensional photographs, three-dimensional photography provides the surgeon with an invaluable volumetric and morphologic analysis by demonstrating true surface dimensions both preoperatively and postoperatively. Clinical photography has served as one of the fundamental objective means by which plastic surgeons review outcomes; however, the newer three-dimensional technology has been primarily used to enhance the preoperative consultation with surgical simulations. The authors intend to familiarize readers with the notion that three-dimensional photography extends well beyond its marketing application during surgical consultation. For the cosmetic surgeon, as the application of three-dimensional photography continues to mature in facial plastic surgery, it will continue to bypass the dated conventional photographic methods plastic surgeons once relied on. This article reviews a paradigm shift and provides a historical review of the fascinating evolution of photography in plastic surgery by highlighting the clinical utility of three-dimensional photography as an adjunct to plastic and reconstructive surgery practices. As three-dimensional photographic technology continues to evolve, its application in facial plastic surgery will provide an opportunity for a new objective standard in plastic surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)761-769
Number of pages9
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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