People who are considering plastic surgery often spend hours researching before and after photos on websites looking for examples of results that they might be happy with. Before and after photos help potential patients understand what to expect from any given procedure and show examples of a surgeon’s actual work. Unfortunately, some pictures are not what they seem. A quick survey of before and after photos can reveal vast differences in the quality of the photography as well as telltale signs of inferior surgical work. It’s important to know what to look for when viewing before and after photos so that you can properly evaluate a surgeon’s best work. There are a few ways that before and after photos can fool patients and knowing the common “tricks” will help you avoid a costly mistake.
Common Signs of Before and After Photo Trickery
- Photos depict someone else’s patients: Some websites contain photos of patients that have been supplied by corporations, and are not the doctor’s work. A common example of this occurs when new equipment, such as a laser, is purchased by a physician. The manufacturer provides the physician with sample patient photos to use for demonstration purposes. Those photos represent work performed by other doctors. To identify photos that might be the work of another doctor, and not the one you are evaluating, look for photos that are not consistent with the surgeon’s other photos, such those that use a different background, a different resolution, or a photo that focuses on the body part in a different way than the rest of the photos. When in doubt, ask the doctor if the photos depict actual patients.
- Heavy flash exposure: When looking at before and after photos of facial procedures, always take note of the camera flash. Pictures taken after plastic surgery that are much brighter than the before pictures will tend to look better. When the flash is much more intense in the after photos and when the before photos have more shadowing, you can really see the wrinkles before surgery. But with the overexposed after photo, it’s hard to know what happened to those wrinkles – was it the surgery or the flash photography that erased them? Heavy flash can also mask the signs of scarring in the after pictures.
- Inconsistent angles and distance: Skilled rhinoplasty surgeons usually keep a gallery of before and after photos to showcase their artistic skills to a potential patient. Sometimes, even if the surgeon isn’t intending to be misleading, the photos might not be as accurate as possible. A nose can look quite different from every angle, and that’s why it is important that the before and after rhinoplasty pictures are taken at the same angle, distance, and lighting. Otherwise, the optical illusion in the photos can make poor results appear great, and great results appear poor. Also, the photo gallery should showcase several views of the nose, so that you get a sense of the true proportions. Most before and after pictures show the side view of the nose, which typically demonstrates the most significant improvement. But for the sake of accuracy, prudent doctors also provide a front and posterior view. Last, smiling can make the nostrils seem larger. When people smile, it adds to the nostril flare. For this reason, the pictures of patients should be devoid of any facial expression to get the most accurate illustration of the surgeon’s artistic skills in rhinoplasty.
- Too much make-up: Make-up may also create an optical illusion or some kind of distortion, making the nose appear more defined than the actual result or making facial procedure results look better than they really are. For this reason, sensible doctors make sure their patients have no make-up on while taking their before and after pictures.
- Mismatched body positions: Body position can be manipulated to change appearance. For example, if the woman’s arms are behind her back, or if her hands are on her hips in a picture taken after surgery for breast augmentation, the before surgery photos should show the same body position because the breasts can appear to be dramatically different. Another thing to watch for is when the after photo is taken from a different angle than the before photo. Accurate before and after photos of breast surgery should be taken from the same angle and distance to allow viewers to evaluate symmetry and proportion.
While no surgeon can produce the exact same results on two different people, browsing through the photo gallery can help you choose the right professional for you. Knowing which photos are not accurately representing results is a great start. A few other questions to ask yourself before selecting your physician include:
- Do the doctor’s results look consistently good? If you notice repeated results that are not what you desire, this is a good indicator that the surgeon may not be right for you.
- Do the results look natural and attractive? A good surgeon will create results that appear naturally beautiful.
- Are there any specific techniques the surgeon is using? If the surgeon uses a special technique and you like the results, you may want to compare results only to others who perform the same technique.
Keeping these things in mind while considering your plastic surgery options will ensure that you find the right surgeon who can provide realistic results that are naturally beautiful.
At Aesthetica we are proud of the many examples of outstanding plastic surgery results we have provided for our clients. We are pleased to present our before and after photo gallery. It represents all the best practices for accurate representation of before and after results and showcases the exceptional cosmetic surgery outcomes we provide for our clients. Visit our before and after gallery here. For more information or to set up a consultation contact us here.