Implementing Precision Medicine and Artificial Intelligence in Plastic Surgery

Concepts and Future Prospects

You J. Kim, BS; Brian P. Kelley, MD; Jacob S. Nasser, BS; Kevin C. Chung, MD, MS


Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2019;7(3):e2113 

In This Article


From the use of intelligent imaging to the integration of big data techniques, the cognitive skills of physicians have become computerized to be quicker, more efficient, and more precise. However, all technological advancements such as AI have critics and limitations, especially in the field of surgery. Although precision medicine and AI are emerging topics in the field of medicine, the clinical examples that are presented in this article are simply to set a primer for its application. Furthermore, for AI algorithms to make accurate predictions, the data that are input must also be accurate and diverse. The collaboration of researchers and surgeons is imperative in the advancement of this technology in medicine. Thus, surgeons must understand the importance of accuracy and diversity within their own data.[7] Furthermore, the uncertainty behind the hidden layer of ANNs is a concern that has risen among many researchers. Many refer to the hidden layer of the ANN as the "black box."[7] It is hoped that, as we expand our knowledge of AI, we will have a better understanding of the algorithmic process behind these neural networks.

AI in the form of big data analytics will augment the cognitive decisions of plastic surgeons, whereas AI-assisted surgery will refine their surgical skills, mitigating human error and promoting precision. By advocating for the use of AI in our field, we will truly defend our label as innovators shaping the field of medicine. With more big data and policy focused on implementing various applications of machine intelligence, the future of AI in plastic surgery will be possible.