Markey and her team are simplifying the process, however, by using commercially available 3D surface imaging technology. The technology takes multiple photos of patients prior to their surgery and builds 3D models and measurements of the photographed area in a matter of minutes.
Such models then can be used to build simulations of what a patient would look like if he or she had a procedure. For cancer patients undergoing facial reconstructive surgery, the models would help better define cosmetic outcomes. And for breast cancer patients, who often must choose from multiple procedures, the simulations would make it easier to decide which procedure provides the most desired physical effect.
"We're trying to do this in an honest way, so that these aren't just fancy computer graphics. They provide patients with a realistic picture of what they would look like after their surgery and are constrained by what is actually surgically possible," Markey said.
The bigger goal of one of the research projects is to identify underlying commonalities among breast cancer patients like age, feelings on body image issues, disease history, etc. so that surgeons and doctors can provide women with reconstructive surgery options that are more tailored to their individual needs, expectations post-surgery and physical and mental characteristics.
Markey, along with Fatima Merchant, an engineering alumna and University of Houston assistant professor, and Michelle Fingeret, a clinical psychologist and an assistant professor at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, are in the process of collecting up to 500 surveys from breast cancer patients undergoing reconstructive surgery at MD Anderson. Responses from the surveys will eventually help researchers create complex algorithms that similarly to how Netflix and Amazo
|Contact: Melissa Mixon|
University of Texas at Austin