Does Plastic Surgery Alter Facial Recognition? Implications for the New iPhone X by Apple


Expert Facelift Plastic Surgeon Dr Jack Zoumaras discusses facial recognition and the implications with AI and in particular the new iPhone X by Apple.

IPhone X

It has been 10 years since Steve Jobs launched the first iPhone, the first phone to enable email, photos and internet access amongst other features with a touch screen. 10 years on and the smart phone has revolutionised the way we live our life, personally, socially and for business. Over 50% of the readers of this blog will be doing it on a smart phone rather than desktop computer.

Features of the new iPhone X include a larger OLED screen with no border, 12 megapixel camera and of course facial recognition (Facial ID) in place of the home button.

The facial recognition feature will enable the front mounted camera of the phone to recognise its owner and unlock the screen to enable the user to function the phone. The Face ID becomes the password for the phone and Apple ID.

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The Power of the Human Eye

The human eye can detect facial asymmetry’s that are in the millimetres. As plastic surgeons we are well aware that a 1-3 mm difference in eye and nose shape can be detected by an untrained (not a plastic surgeon) eye. Asymmetry in the lip, cheek or elsewhere in the face requires at least 5 mm discrepancy.


It Begs the Question can Plastic Surgery Influence your Facial Recognition in the Digital Age?

The short answer is no the facial recognition by facial ID will take into consideration the shape of your eye, eyebrow, nose, lip and face in general and any changes from surgery will not alter the overall facial pattern that the technology will recognise.

Unless you have numerous facial procedures to alter the way you look then you can be safe to have plastic surgery and still use you iPhone X.

How does this affect Plastic Surgeons?

Often as a surgeon you are relying on your surgical team to answer your phone and sometimes crawl messages and write a message while you a scrubbed (Gowned/Gloved and Operating). With Facial ID it would be interesting to see if this still works given that our lower face will be covered by a surgical mask.

See more of Dr Jack Zoumaras blogs write here and don’t forget to tune into Facebook live weekly for a Q & A.