Blog

Plastic Surgery Before and After Pictures: What are you really seeing?

Many of our patients search hundreds of patient photos on different plastic surgeons websites throughout Michigan.  Ideally, they are looking for photos that look like them, and have a cosmetic surgery result that they would be happy with.  Plastic surgery before and after pictures are a very important tool to get to know your surgeon.  Unfortunately, some pictures are not what they seem.  Some websites, hopefully not doctors board certified in plastic surgery, contain photos of patients that have been supplied by corporations, and are not the surgeons work.  A very common example would be a new laser that comes out, and is purchased by a physician.   Sample patient photos, performed by other surgeons, are often provided to the physician to use for demonstration purposes.  I recommend you always ask if these patients were operated on by the surgeon you are consulting with.  Other small tip offs are photos that are not consistent with the surgeon’s other photos such as a different background, different resolution, or a photo that focuses on the body part in a different way than the rest of the photos.

Another key component, for facial procedures in particular, is flash exposure.  Plastic surgery after pictures that are much brighter than the before pictures will look a lot better.  In fact, we have taken photos with different settings showing this in the office.  We always get upset when a new laser manufacturer promises great things for our patients, and shows us a set of pictures where the after pictures are all much brighter than the before pictures.  Right away, I think this is another laser gizmo promising things that it cannot do for my patients!

How should you then evaluate before and after pictures?

  1. If you don’t like the results of the surgeon, not just on the cosmetic procedure you are interested in but overall, then definitely look elsewhere.
  2. If you do like the photos, then at your consultation trust your instincts.  Ask yourself if the plastic surgeon and his office is on board with you to get you a great result, or are you just one of many?  The answer will often guide you to the best plastic surgeon for you.