Plastic surgery patients are getting a glimpse into the medical crystal ball, and some are starting the process with a simple trip to the App Store on their smartphone.
More and more doctors are offering applications that allow you to snap a picture and gently morph it to show cosmetic changes you'd like to make. Many of the apps are free, but all appear to be rich in dreams.
"It's a big deal among young patients," explained Dr. Daniel Daube, a Panama City-based facial plastic surgeon.
Dr. Daube says prospective patients across the world seek him out, thanks to his plastic surgery app.
"I can look at it, and then we can coordinate a phone conversation and I can speak to the patients about their individualized issues," he continued.
The morphed images generated by these smart phone apps are often far from perfect. But some doctors are taking the same concept and supercharging it.
"People are amazed," said Dr. Daniel Diaco, a Tampa plastic surgeon.
Diaco uses a multi-camera system called the Axis Three to manipulate a patient's 'before' picture into the desired after-offering post-surgery predictions.
"The simulation software definitely gives the patients an idea of how big 400, 600 cc's is for a breast implant," said Diaco. "It might also show them how their nose will look if you take out the bump in the front, or make the tip more narrow, or lift the tip a little bit, or shorten it."
Rachel Funk came to Dr. Diaco's office, in search of a breast implants. The system helped reveal what's realistic, and what's not.
"It was really cool, it's like seeing into the future," offered Rachel. "He said, 'This is kind of what you were asking for,' and I said, 'Oh no that would have been wrong.' So it was a wakeup call for me."
Experts expect to see more of these medical apps within the next five years, making way for customized monitoring and treatments from specialists, like heart surgeons and eye doctors.