The use of 3D photography in cosmetic dermatology is only just starting to make its usefulness known, in particular with the application of lip injections and other types of dermal filler.
There hasn’t been a lot of effort put into scientifically measuring the degree of dermal filler injected so far, however with new imaging techniques the process can now become more science than art, with huge benefits for understanding faces and the changes cosmetic treatments make over time.
A few keen dermatologists set out to evaluate the changes in lip volume before and after lip injections with dermal filler, to analyse the three-dimensional imagery from special photographic equipment.
Lip injections are typically performed with a dermal filler that contains a substance found naturally in our skin and other tissue. Dermal fillers can be applied to any area of the face, often being used to replace volume loss related to ageing or augment the features in some way. Dermal fillers are a form of facial rejuvenation, which might include treatments applied to the nasolabial folds, lips, or filling out scars.
Assessing the outcomes of dermal fillers like lip injections can be a little imprecise. The testing these dermatologists did was with one woman in particular, a 32-year-old with a thin upper lip and folds on her lower face. She wanted dermal fillers, and after discussing her options, she agreed to get the photography and dermal filler.
Her treatments were carried out as per the plan, including lip injections and dermal filler applied to her lower cheek area. She was photographed before and after her treatments using a 3D volumetric analysis system – Vectra 3D software combined with the 3D photography system.
So how’d it go, you ask? The woman obviously had increased volume in her cheeks and lips after the injections in both areas, with the increase in volume measured much more specifically than it has ever been before. The lip injections caused localised swelling of her lips, causing almost twice the volume recorded as the volume of her injections, which was expected, but highlights an important missing link in cosmetic dermatology and lip augmentation procedures: nobody has measured this immediate post-injection swelling precisely before.
Some lip injections and dermal fillers cause more immediate swelling than others, with the duration of the swelling dependent on the brand. There isn’t really data on this, as it is usually an observation by the injector, rather than something to be calculated – until now.
Now, numerical data can be obtained on just how much swelling has taken place after the various brands of dermal filler, to provide accurate data not only for injectors, but for patients undergoing these cosmetic procedures so they can compare brands of filler and discuss their options with their dermatologist. Lip injections in particular do not appear to have been compared with one another in a side-by-side analysis – which lip injections cause the most immediate swelling, and which brands cause longer-lasting swelling?
This photography will be an invaluable tool in understanding how faces change not only over time with age, but with repeated cosmetic treatments – when the filler wears off, what happens then? Comparing images over a long period of time will enable far more precise treatments, since it will become more obvious where volume is being lost from in an individual.
We pride ourselves on being up-to-date with the latest technological advances and are looking forward to implementing 3D imaging at our Melbourne clinic in the future.
We love lips.
Visit our Melbourne clinic.