Updated September 2018
Choosing the right breast implant size can be a tough decision. You want them to be big enough to make a difference in your appearance, but not so big you regret it down the road. And what about shape? That matters, too.
Virtual breast augmentation is taking out some of the guesswork for patients, allowing them to see what they will look like with different implant options, so they get their breast augmentation right the first time. It's all thanks to 3D imaging.
How virtual breast augmentation works
While standing in front of the 3D imaging system, its cameras take several simultaneous digital images of your breasts from a variety of angles. This acts as a starting point.
The system then uses built-in software to build a movable 3D model of your body from different viewpoints.
Using the system's software simulation tools, your surgeon can then produce mockups of what you will look like with different breast implant sizes, shapes, profiles, and placements.
Using the breast simulator during your breast augmentation consultation
When it comes to choosing breast implants, the greatest determining factor will be your breast width diameter (BWD). This is a measurement of the width of your breasts, from cleavage to the outermost edge, and signals to your plastic surgeon how big and wide of an implant your breasts can support.
Breast augmentation simulators, like Axis Three 3D and Vectra XT 3D, measure your BWD and quantify differences in the shape and size of your two breasts. They also automate measurements for the breast implants sizes and profiles that will work with your BWD.
Your plastic surgeon can then explain in detail the challenges and possibilities for your particular breast augmentation procedure. After the two of you have selected breast implant options, he can use the system's tooling features to render realistic 3D models that take into account gravity, shape, and implant placement.
Images can be:
- Placed side-by-side for a before and after look
- Rotated in tandem to provide a look at different angles
- Zoomed in for a closer take
Will your breast implant results look exactly like the breast simulator?
Your breast augmentation results will be similar to the simulations you've seen, but not exact. Virtual breast augmentation cannot take the place of your surgeon's actual skills and techniques in the operating room.
To know whether your breast implant surgeon will hit the mark, it is best to review pre- and post-op images of your surgeon's work alongside 3D images taken during those same patients' breast simulation consultation. This will give you an idea of how close he comes to meeting patient expectations based on the models.
What virtual breast augmentation looks like
It's hard to paint a picture in your head of what 3D breast implant imaging looks like, so we found these videos to make it clearer.
Axis three 3D
Want to try virtual breast augmentation?
If you want to give virtual breast augmentation a try, there's a fun online breast implant simulator. We tried it ourselves and got a kick out of it. You won't be able to upload your body, but you can choose from a selection of different body types—by band size, cup size, height, and skin tone.
Vectra XT: 3D Imaging Solution for Body, Breast, and Face. Canfield Scientific. Retrieved from https://www.canfieldsci.com/common/docs/products/9/brochures/VectraXTBrochure.pdf
Breast Simulation - Overview. Axis Three. Retrieved from http://www.axisthree.com/products/breast-surgery-simulation