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Here's How Artificial Intelligence Can Impact Advances in Plastic Surgery

Here's How Artificial Intelligence Can Impact Advances in Plastic Surgery
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$20 billion is the estimated value of the present beauty industry, and it’s increasing around 3 percent annually. In an age where other industries are flourishing, ‘plastic surgery’ being a component of this expansive industry is merely surviving. Will artificial intelligence unlock the potential for growth of the plastic surgery industry? Let’s explore.

Artificial intelligence is slowly and steadily making its presence felt in the beauty industry, with researchers hoping AI will help to make humans more beautiful. Dr. Michael Gartner, a double board certified surgeon by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery, and the founder of Gartner Plastic Surgery says “while the growth of AI in the cosmetic surgery industry is unavoidable, it is necessary to determine how the AI will define and understand “beauty” because it will be a crucial factor for the patients. The AI has to perform facial analysis and gather other indicators such as skin evenness, skin color, and facial symmetry to perform an objective analysis”.

Globally, the healthcare system is collecting huge amount of data, profiling people on various factors, which is opening a scope for AI researchers to explore the usability of machine learning in the cosmetic field industry. The ultimate agenda of machine learning is to improve the quality of medical care and healthcare access. In 2016, the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery magazine published a column on the advancements of plastic surgery with AI and its future scope.

AI is a powerful tool, says Dr. Gartner. It gives doctors access to complex clinical data that helps to take certain decisions. AI will strongly contribute towards the progress of plastic surgery and reconstructive surgery. As the data is accumulated, the AI will collect medical details of each listed patient. Over a course of time, there will a historical data to show patterns and conditions, AI will analyse the historical data to develop algorithms and deliver knowledge to the doctor in-charge. Similar approaches are already in existence such as the Tracking Operations and Outcomes for Plastic Surgeons (TOPS) database.

Artificial intelligence could be useful in areas like peripheral nerve and hand surgery, burn surgery, aesthetic surgery, and craniofacial surgery. For peripheral nerve and hand surgery, AI can predict the success rate of engineered nerve grafts and help to develop automated controllers for patients suffering with neuro-prostheses. For burn surgery, AI is already in existence to predict healing possibilities of burn victims and assessing the depth of burns. More developments are happening in this space to understand burn victim vulnerabilities and suggest resuscitation measures. For aesthetic surgery, AI can create real-time stimulations to predict the outcomes of reconstructive breast surgery or facial surgeries. For craniofacial surgery, AI is already implemented to automatic diagnosis of growth defects in the skulls of infants. Multiple researches are going on in this field to determine whether AI can indentify responsible genes for palate and cleft lip.

AI is becoming a trend in the beauty industry – the machines are able to analyse the human face with exceptional clarity. They can help to automate beautification services and offer makeover services by recommending top surgery experts or stylists. At this point, the AI can create and analyse data points such as hair type, skin type, hair color skin texture, and lifestyle preferences from social media platforms. This connection between AI technology and beautification surgeries aims not only to improve the appearance of humans or improve cosmetic brands but it lends a new meaning to the world of beauty makeovers.

In the next couple of years, AI could gain a more permanent footing in the cosmetic surgery industry, with its impact spreading across health and wellness industry. AI can not only connect customers to find a doctor for their specific surgical needs but also help the doctors understand the patient profile with historical data and take relevant decisions – the benefits of AI is certainly two-pronged.

The presence of AI in the beauty industry is in its nascent stages and it has tons of potential for growth. Startups needs to catch up in this trend and innovate with AI, and make it accessible to doctors. On a closing note, Dr. Gartner warns that even though AI could be extremely useful and reliable, it is ultimately a computer generated algorithm and algorithms can’t replace a trained human eye. Human intervention is required for the best possible outcome. 

 
Edition: June 2017

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