"Background: The arterial anatomy of the face is extremely variable. Despite numerous cadaver dissections and anatomical descriptions, the exact location of the superficial facial arteries remains unpredictable. This ignorance is a determining factor in the pathophysiology of intravascular filler injections, potentially causing skin necrosis and blindness.
Objectives: The main objective of this study is to evaluate the accuracy of an augmented reality (AR) application that visualizes the individual arterial anatomy of the face.
Methods: A workflow was developed during which a magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) mapped the superficial arteries of the face. The images were further processed into an AR image that was visualized on the patient's face using a specifically designed smartphone application. The accuracy of the AR image and the position of each individual artery were analyzed using duplex ultrasound (US).
Results: A total of 216 facial arteries were visualized in 20 patients. The superficial temporal (100%), supratrochlear (92.5%), facial (75%), and angular (82.5%) arteries were visualized the most. The inferior labial (17.5%), dorsal nasal (22.5%), and supraorbital (42.5%) arteries were the most difficult to visualize through MRA. The average deviation between the artery visible on the AR image and the location assessed by US was 0.30 mm (standard deviation = +/- 0.66 mm). There were no complications reported.
Conclusions: The combination of a risk-free MRA to map the individual arteries of the face and the processing into an AR image may be considered as a useful and accurate tool during dermal filler injections to potentially minimize the risk of intravascular filler injections."