Plastic Surgery Before and After Pictures: What to Look For

by Wendy Travis

Plastic Surgery Before and After Pictures: What to Look For

The popularity of cosmetic procedures has led many medical professionals into the field of plastic surgery. The large number of doctors is good news to those seeking cosmetic surgery, since there is a broader pool of knowledge and experience to draw from. However, greater choices can also lead to challenges in narrowing the scope down to the best doctor for your needs. One tool used to select a cosmetic surgeon is the before and after photos posted on the doctor's website. These pictures can be very helpful in choosing a qualified doctor, but only if you consider specific criteria when perusing the photos.

What Photos Tell You

Before and after photos are comparable to a physician's portfolio or resume, because they give you an accurate depiction of the type of results the doctor can achieve. A large number of photos indicate the doctor has had ample experience with the specific procedure you are interested in. Pictures will also give you an idea of the gender, body type, age and ethnicity this doctor works with the most. When before and after photos are clear and in full color, it conveys the doctor takes pride in his work and pays close attention to detail. With more careful scrutiny, you can pick up more details about a doctor and practice as well.

What to Look For

To ensure you get the most information possible out of your study of before and after photos, consider the following:

  • The number of photos available. To ensure the cosmetic surgeon you choose is sufficiently experienced in the procedure you want, look for ample before and after photos on the doctor's website. If you do not see more than a handful of patients, ask the doctor if additional photos are available for your inspection.
  • The lighting and the pose of the individual. Before and after photos that are done in identical poses and lighting will provide the most accurate idea of what a patient can expect from their procedure. Poses should be natural, with nothing to distract from the view, such as hair, makeup or accessories.
  • The age, gender and ethnicity of the patients. While an experienced doctor will probably have a variety of patients to display, look for individuals that most closely resemble your age, gender and ethnicity. This will give you the most accurate idea of the results you might expect from your own procedure.
  • The ability to contact former patients. In addition to before and after photos, many cosmetic surgeons will also provide references new patients can interview. This allows you to collect even more information about the doctor, such as the punctuality of the doctor and the professionalism of the office staff.

Once you have viewed a doctor's work, don't be afraid to ask more questions about what you have seen. You might want to know if the before and after photos reflect a single procedure, or if additional treatments were required to achieve the desired result. Ask how much time elapsed between the procedure and the "after" photo. An exorbitant amount of time might suggest that additional revisionary procedures were completed in the interim.

You can also select a handful of photos that most closely represent the results you are hoping to achieve. Try to choose patients most similar to you in terms of age, size and body shape for the best prediction. Ask the cosmetic surgeon if you could expect similar results or if there are additional variable that could alter your outcome. This comparison will offer your doctor an accurate view of the results you are hoping for and provide you with a realistic idea of what you can expect.

Before and after photos can be an excellent tool in choosing the best cosmetic surgeon for your needs. If you are interested in a specific cosmetic procedure, check out our surgeon finder tool to find an experienced doctor in your area.

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