The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in plastic surgery is not limited to giving cosmetic enhancements to people but can also help in treating people with skin conditions.
AI is being implemented on a large scale in the medical and healthcare industry. Plastic surgery, being a part of the healthcare domain can leverage the benefits of AI too. But when one imagines plastic surgery, they usually think of people going under the knife to enhance their facial beauty. However, plastic surgery as a domain is very much vast and can help improve the physical condition of people battling skin diseases or help people facing shortcomings in their physical structure and appearance. Some of the benefits of using AI in plastic surgery include quickly detecting skin problems, providing better diagnosis, and helping in monitoring treatment. Depending on the condition, AI can be leveraged in multiple ways by plastic surgeons to treat their patients better.
Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Plastic Surgery
Providing Burn Care
Sustaining burns can prove to be a life-scarring event. People usually have to live with the scars of a burn for the rest of their lives. Plastic surgery has made it possible to hide the burn marks, and the use of AI in plastic surgery can help in providing better burn care. AI algorithms can be trained to assess the burnt area accurately. This, in turn, leads to more effective treatment of the burnt area. Plastic surgeons can provide better treatment solutions, thanks to AI systems. The AI algorithm can even predict whether plastic surgery is necessary. It can help determine if the burn wound will heal without surgery, thus relieving patients from unnecessary hospital visits and the cost of surgery. In one study, researchers used an artificially intelligent neural network and reflectance spectrometry to predict how long a burn wound would take to heal.
Detecting Skin Cancer
The earlier cancer is detected, the better the chances of the success of its treatment. AI can be used to detect cancers by analyzing photos of body parts. In one research, the team of researchers trained a deep convolutional neural network, CNN, using a dataset of hundreds of thousands of images. The CNN was able to detect the most common cancers as well as the deadliest skin cancers, with results comparable to dermatologists. As technology becomes more accessible and mobile, it can help dermatologists in extending their reach to a wider set of patients. It can thus result in low-cost healthcare to a larger set of people around the globe. Thus, cancer can potentially be detected at an earlier stage, resulting in affordable and better treatment, helping save lives.
The use of AI in plastic surgery is yet to saturate its full potential. Continuous research is being carried to determine new ways in which AI can be leveraged in the plastic surgery domain. Computers are better at recognizing patterns than humans and will get better with advancements. Thus, AI can prove to be a good assistant to plastic surgeons and help them restore the form and function of various body parts and even potentially save human lives.