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The perils of the metaverse: How the gap between our avatar and our true appearance will affect our mental health

This article was originally published in the January 2023 issue of Vogue Spain.

While art and technology are The world of cosmetics takes off to conquer Metaverse – a network of spaces where the boundaries between the physical and the digital are softened – consumers encounter it Possibility of profiling alternate personality Virtual, with consequent impact on your personal expression; The great danger of the metaverse to our mental health. Most people still don’t know What is Metaverseand subject matter expert Matthew Ball He believes its full development is still a long way off, but many of its core components already exist, such as the virtual and augmented reality technology that plastic surgeons and plastic surgeons work with, as well as their centers. Example? Last October, the Champs-Elysées Clinic (a famous French clinic that uses a technique InMode) held the first event dedicated to medical wellness in Metaverse. However, the doctors warn of metaverse dangers that await the patient in the other dimension.

How will plastic medicine and surgery change?

to me A doctor Jonquil Chantry – British spokesperson for the laboratory Allergan-, The metaverse offers two great opportunities for aesthetic medicine, in education and experience. “Virtual spaces, clinics and consultations can be developed where the patient will be present, while experts will be able to learn more about specific and personalized treatments. There will be a lot of information, ”he predicts regarding the first area. In other words, it will be fundamental “in terms of experience and environment. Extended experience will be one of the motivating factors for trends (in addition to the trend itself). Patients will be able to come to the clinic from the comfort of their own home; feel more secure, have more options and talk to different centers. It is almost like doing virtual medical tourismwhich is a major trend in recent years, ”adds the expert.

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the A doctor Daniel Rosadoa specialist in sports injury medicine and aesthetic medicine, reveals that the experience in these clinics can be almost as complete as in the physical world: “Thanks to the aesthetic image with a high percentage of similarity to the patient, it is possible Anticipate treatment results (with a margin of error of 15%); This, in turn, will help draw a better diagnosis because recuperation can be very close to a cure.” In Chantri’s words, “everything will depend on the increase in technology,” but he expects An overall improvement in the way people work Aesthetic medicine“From a three-dimensional perspective, we will be able to predict the potential development of your bones and fats with fillers [como el ácido hialurónico]So is his complexion.

On the other hand, the A doctor Francisco BravoMember of the AECEP (Spanish Society of Plastic Surgery), is of the opinion that the greatest advantage of the metaverse for the plastic surgeon will be the “possibility Better understanding of patients And help them make their real decisions. These technologies and platforms really allow them to visualize the different versions of themselves effectively, making it easier to communicate with the doctor. from there, The plastic surgeon will have to assess whether what he aspires to is appropriate or feasible.”. according to your experience, The use of filters already has a clinical impact“This is similar to projecting a human into an avatar form,” he explains. “Although the patient must distinguish the virtual from the physical level, there is often a desire to translate his fears into the real world, and the surgeon can draw many conclusions from the avatar. Says the doctor, who provides consultations at the Gomez Bravo Clinic in Madrid, “It’s something we, as doctors, have to evaluate and understand very well.”

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Psychological consequences of metaphysics

What is the effect of creating a file alternate personality virtual by the consumer? As described above, clinicians agree that it benefits people who are shy or have difficulty expressing themselves, who would communicate better through an avatar. However, as a healthcare professional, I think about their mental state. The digital lens has already caused some challenges for those who feel their body is under scrutiny in video calls or warning There is a big difference between your ideal self (how you imagine it) and your real self.Dr. Chantri finds out. In fact, the latest report from Allergan highlights that one of the main reasons people go to cosmetic clinics is to see pictures of themselves.

For this reason, the cosmetic doctor admits to being extremely concerned about the metaverse’s dangers to consumers’ mental health (i.e. its physical counterparts). As she points out, “It’s nice to live in the current 3D space, well versed in virtual reality system support and using tools that represent us in this field; but Then we encounter physical reality, people we already know, and discover a huge gap between our avatar and our true appearance. The danger lies in the avatar as self-expression, ”adds the doctor. Although it may seem distant, it is already a widespread problem like Apps Image retouching.