On paper, the plastic surgeon you’re thinking of working with seems great. They are board-certified, they have years of experience and they specialize in the procedure you want. But how do you know that the work they do lives up to their credentials?
One way to get a good sense of a surgeon’s skills is to look at the results they’ve produced for past patients. Sometimes, the best option is to track down patients who have had experience with a particular surgeon and ask for their opinions and advice. However, this isn’t always possible due to privacy concerns and other challenges.
If you can’t get in touch with previous patients, you aren’t without options. Many surgeons take before and after photos of their patients. The photos serve as a document of their work and can also give potential patients a better idea of what type of results they can expect from the surgery.
Here’s what to pay attention to when reviewing a surgeon’s before and after photos.
What to Look for in Before Photos
When flipping or scrolling through a surgeon’s photo gallery, it can be useful to pay attention to those who resemble you. If you’re considering a nose job, look for patients who had a nose that was similar to yours in size and shape (before their surgery). If you’re considering a breast augmentation keep an eye out for patients who had breasts that are similar to yours in shape or size.
As you look through photos, it can be helpful to ask the surgeon what changes the patient was looking for, so that you can get a sense of whether or not their “after” photos lived up to results.
What to Look for in After Photos
Once you’ve found at least one patient who resembles you in a “before” picture, take a look at their after photos to see what type of results they achieved. There are a few things you want to pay attention to in particular when reviewing after photos.
For example, take note of how natural their results look. If a woman has had breast augmentation, does the after picture show a natural-looking silhouette, or do the implants look out of place? It’s also worthwhile to look at symmetry and evenness. Are the breasts balanced or is one higher than the other?
You’ll also want to look at how the area has healed. Scarring is always a concern for people who are considering plastic surgery. In the after photos, are there visible scars? If so, are they in locations that you can conceal easily with hair, makeup or clothing? Do the scars look as if they have healed well or are they red or overgrown? Although poor scarring can be due to a person’s individual reaction to surgery, in many cases they can be evidence of a lack of skill on the part of the surgeon.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Although it’s a good idea to compare the before and after results of people who look somewhat like you, it’s also worthwhile to scan the photos of all of a surgeon’s past patients. Doing so will give you a better idea of the level of skill and artistic talent a surgeon has.
For example, if you look at the pictures of rhinoplasty patients who all started out with different noses but who ended up with the same nose, that can suggest that the surgeon is a bit of a “one hit” wonder and might not be able to customize the surgery to meet the specific needs of their patients.
Before and After Photos Don’t Replace an In-Person Consultation
Photos can be worth a thousand words, but they don’t replace the need to have a conversation and consultation with a surgeon before your procedure. Think of photos as a way to get to know a surgeon’s work and the consultation as a way to get to know how they can help you.
In Houston, Texas, Dr. Paul Vitenas is a board-certified plastic surgeon who has almost 30 years’ experience. To see examples of his work and discuss your surgical options, call 281-484-0088 to schedule a consultation today.