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Invited Commentary
Nov/Dec 2015

Modeling Our Way to Better Outcomes

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  • 2Editor, JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery
JAMA Facial Plast Surg. 2015;17(6):420-421. doi:10.1001/jamafacial.2015.1133

As facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons, our work demands not only a keen sense of aesthetics but also a solid understanding of soft- and hard-tissue dynamics and the delicate interplay between form and function. Adding to the complexity are individual patient factors, including variable anatomy and medical comorbidities, which can affect patient outcomes. The surgical techniques and procedures we currently use have evolved through many years of hard work, ingenuity, experimentation, and curiosity of our predecessors and thought leaders within our field. This collectively comprises decades of knowledge that has largely been developed through vast experience and undoubtedly trial and error as well. Yet, unlike engineers who are able to perform crash tests on vehicles or simulate flight in an aircraft, the nature of our work inherently limits our ability to test or trial new techniques while abiding by our tenet as physicians to “first, do no harm.”