Three-Dimensional Imaging in Rhinoplasty: A Comparison of the Simulated versus Actual Result

Sarah Persing, Andrew Timberlake, Sarika Madari, Derek Steinbacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: Computer imaging has become increasingly popular for rhinoplasty. Three-dimensional (3D) analysis permits a more comprehensive view from multiple vantage points. However, the predictability and concordance between the simulated and actual result have not been morphometrically studied. The purpose of this study was to aesthetically and quantitatively compare the simulated to actual rhinoplasty result. Methods: A retrospective review of 3D images (VECTRA, Canfield) for rhinoplasty patients was performed. Images (preop, simulated, and actual) were randomized. A blinded panel of physicians rated the images (1 = poor, 5 = excellent). The image series considered “best” was also recorded. A quantitative assessment of nasolabial angle and tip projection was compared. Paired and two-sample t tests were performed for statistical analysis (P < 0.05 as significant). Results: Forty patients were included. 67.5% of preoperative images were rated as poor (mean = 1.7). The simulation received a mean score of 2.9 (good in 60% of cases). 82.5% of actual cases were rated good to excellent (mean 3.4) (P < 0.001). Overall, the panel significantly preferred the actual postoperative result in 77.5% of cases compared to the simulation in 22.5% of cases (P < 0.001). The actual nasal tip was more projected compared to the simulations for both males and females. There was no significant difference in nasal tip rotation between simulated and postoperative groups. Conclusion: 3D simulation is a powerful communication and planning tool in rhinoplasty. In this study, the actual result was deemed more aesthetic than the simulated image. Surgeon experience is important to translate the plan and achieve favorable postoperative results. Level of Evidence IV: This journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1331-1335
Number of pages5
JournalAesthetic Plastic Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Actual result
  • Rhinoplasty
  • Simulation
  • Three-dimensional imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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