Computer-generated models could help surgeons plan cosmetic procedures

High-tech computer processing can now allow surgeons to show cosmetic surgery patients the effects of their proposed treatments. Writing in the Western Mail newspaper, Dr Bernie Tiddeman, a senior lecturer in computer science at Aberystwyth University, has written about the work currently underway to advance the way software is used to map and analyse human faces.His initial PhD project involved developing software which could analyse the shape of people's faces and allow surgeons to plan and evaluate treatments. Following this he worked at a psychology laboratory investigating facial perception at the University of St Andrews on improving the processing of textural details such as wrinkles and stubble. Dr Tiddeman said research has shown that people prefer faces transformed to simulate the effects of a healthy lifestyle, such as diet and exercise. This could be used to encourage people for whom surgery is not suitable, to find the impetus to change their bodies and lifestyles. He said: "We have preliminary results suggesting that showing people the consequences of their actions simulated on their own face can have a long-term impact on improving their diet and lifestyle, which could potentially save the NHS a great deal of money."