In January 2016, Illusio Imaging launched a virtual mirror imaging system for breast augmentation patients. Used to enhance the patient experience during breast augmentation consultation, Illusio 3D imaging features a real-time image of the patient’s face and body with superimposed breasts (the size they would be post-surgery), so the patient can see how she'd look from different angles.
Ethan Winner, chief executive officer and co-founder of San Clemente, Calif.-based Illusio Imaging says it’s all about the patient experience. "As a surgeon describes possible outcomes, he can now visually show her exactly what he's talking about, while she’s looking at herself in real time on a wall mounted large screen display. The patient is looking at herself in a virtual mirror and seeing virtual breasts instead of her breasts, but they look like hers," Winner says.
Winner and plastic surgeon Kyle Song, M.D., developed the software, which uses an iPad interface that projects onto a large monitor. The patient can see the virtual breasts on her body from different angles and from close and far.
"The technology that we use is called augmented reality. Augmented reality refers to any time you take a virtual image and superimpose it on the real world," Winner says. "That marker is simply a mechanism so the application knows where to place that image."
According to Winner, Dr. Song has used the technology on close to 150 patients and his rate of conversion has gone from about 60% before Illusio to more than 80% with Illusio.
How It Works, What It Costs
The Illusio app can be downloaded from the app store and can be run on the iPad Air and iPad Pro. A tablet comes with the initial set up, according to Illusio.com.
"We encourage our physicians to stream it onto a monitor, just so there is a larger interface with the patient," Winner says.
Plastic surgeons who sign up also get a strap that patients wear, which serves as a marker and has the added benefit of making patients more comfortable because it covers their breasts (see image).
The cost to surgeons who use Illusio is about $1,000 for the setup and $499 a month for licensing, according to Winner. The monthly fee covers all future versions of the breast software, including a scar simulation in development, which will allow patients to see what different incisions look like over time, as well as a version with virtual clothing, so patients can see what their new breasts will look like in a bikini, blouse, etc.
Winner says the company plans to innovate the technology to include an application focusing on abdominoplasty, which cosmetic and plastic surgeons would use to show tummy tucks and mommy makeover patients what they'll look like after surgery. That could be out later in 2016, according to Winner.
"Then we'll look at the next up, with facial procedures, [which could be the] beginning next year,' Winner says.