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Case ReportOpen Access

Digital Photography Made Easy For Cosmetic Surgeons

*Muhammad Ahmad

  • Plastic & Hair restorative Surgeon, Islamabad, Pakistan

Received: June 02, 2017;   Published: June 14, 2017

Corresponding author: Dr Muhammad Ahmad, Plastic & Hair Restorative Surgeon, Aesthetic Plastic Surgery @ Hair Transplant Institute, Islamabad, Pakistan

DOI: 10.26717/BJSTR.2017.01.000129


The use of photography for medical documentation is vital [1]. Hair restoration procedures are among those which require a proper, up-todate documentation of the pre-operative and post-operative results because of various reasons. The time to see the result spans over months and the ongoing hair loss process makes it even more necessary to maintain a proper photographic record, the photo documentation is an integral part in clinical, communications, educational, legal and research aid. The non-standardized photographs diminish the significance of the clinical result [2].


The modern day digital cameras have become the cameras of choice for amateur and professional photographers. These can produce outstanding photographs with good details. There are various good camera manufacturing companies (like Sony, Nikon, Canon) which manufacturers SLR or DSLR cameras. There are certain details which the hair restorative surgeon should be aware of. The include the ISO, focal length, aperture, shutter speed etc. these can be set to ‘automatic’ mode or ‘manual’ mode. Lighting is one of the most important factors while taking a photograph. A photograph taken with a good light at a proper distance produces the best result.

Personal Modifications

There are various articles which mention the standardization of the photographs [3-5]. The author in the present article presents his personal modifications which are not very costly and can produce the wonderful photographs [6].

A. Gridlines

Figure 1: Making of ‘gridlines’.

Normally the cameras with ‘gridline’ options are costly. These gridlines can be made by marking ‘one’ vertical line and ‘one’ horizontal line on a cellophane tape /adhesive paper with a permanent marker (Figure 1). It can be fixed on the viewing screen of the digital camera [7]. The lines are taken in consideration while taking the photographs to maintain the proper position, angle, view [7].

B. Camera flash

Figure 2: Photos with and without camera flash.

Camera flash is used at most of the times but it produces a reflection of the side. The part in front of the flash looks very bright whereas the part on the other side of the flash looks very dark (Figure 2). In hair transplant surgery, the use of flash light actually augments the hair volume due to reflection created by the hair which are in front of the camera. Many surgeons use separate photographic rooms and it becomes quite difficult to take standardized photographs in operating room. The author uses a custom-made reflector which is very cheap and made by an insulin syringe and a few rubber bands. A reflector surface is placed in front of the flash which diffuses the light in all directions (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Customized flash reflector.


Microphotography is an integral part of the hair restoration procedure. The estimation of donor area density by microphotography is of utmost value nowadays. The hand held microscope are very costly. The author has designed a customized microscopic extension for smart phone. A lense with a low diopter power is taken and placed in front of the camera. The photograph is taken with a proper lighting (Figure 4). A much closer photo is also taken by changing the lense. The video can also be made which shows the area in much higher resolution (Video 1). It is also very helpful while taking the photographs f donor area during FUT and in scar assessment of FUT or FUE.

Figure 4: Microphotography.


The innovations in the routine practice help to expand the options for medical photography. These innovations are not very costly but can help a lot.


  1. Persichetti P, Simone P, Langella M, Marangi GF, Carusi C (2007) Digital photography in plastic surgery: How to achieve reasonable standardization outside a photographic studio. Aesth Plast Surg 31(2): 194-200.
  2. Sommer DD, Mendelsohn M (2004) Pitfalls of non-standardized photography in facial plastic surgery patients. Plast RecosntrSurg 114: 10-14.
  3. Nair AG, Santhanam A (2016) Clinical photography for periorbital and facial aesthetic practice. J Cut AesthetSurg 9: 115-121.
  4. Gabel S (2014) Techniques for consistent before and after photographs. Hair Transpl Forum Int’l 24: 64-65.
  5. Yavuzer R, Smirnes S, Jackson IT (2001) Guidelines for standard photography in plastic surgery. Ann PlastSurg 46(3): 293-300.
  6. Ahmad M (2016) Tips for plastic surgeons. Annual conference of Pakistan Association of Plastic Surgeons, Pakistan.
  7. Ahmad M, Ahmad N (2010) Maintaining the standards in digital photography. J Plast Reconstr AesthetSurg 63(2): e208.