Clinical Photography In Plastic Surgery A Review
Keywords:Clinical, photography, plastic, surgery, uses, abuses
Background: Clinical photography is a particularly useful record in surgical practice especially in reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. A review of this topic is necessary in our environment especially considering the improvements that have taken place in photography over the years.
Objectives: To document the practice, uses and abuse of clinical photography especially in plastic surgery.
Methods: A search through the literature was conducted to assess the meaning, the importance, the limitations and abuses of clinical photography. Internet search was also done using different search engines including pubmed, google, msn, yahoo etc. Relevant literatures are compiled and reviewed.
Results: Forty one of a total of 388 scientific papers reviewed were relevant to the discussion. Accurate photographic documentation has been observed to be essential in reconstructive and cosmetic plastic surgery both for clinical and scientific purposes. Surgeons extensively rely on photographic communication for documenting surgical results, teaching, research, and obtaining informed consent from patients. However guidelines exist for taking clinical photographs. Clinical photographs can be abused especially with new technology and computer manipulation. This should be avoided.
Conclusion: Clinical photographs have become instruments in carrying out routine surgical work. Improvement in terms of effectiveness, cost reduction and timeliness of clinical pictures has evolved. Every surgeon should familiarise himself with the changing technology to make the best use of this important tool in medical practice.