Before and after photographs are an essential means for plastic surgeons to show patients realistic outcomes from “cosmetic surgery”. Mr. Ross gives patients some tips in viewing preop and postop images.
Tip 1: Are the pictures you are viewing the surgeons you wish to consult with?
Look at the before and after pictures for the surgeon you wish to consult with. It is imperative that you do not look at generic images or images from clinics / group practices where you do not know who has carried out the procedure. Often these pictures are best viewed on a surgeons individual website. Images from clinics / groups / websites may include the surgeons details although this not commonly practiced within the cosmetic industry. On Mr. Ross’s website all surgery depicted within the preop and postop image gallery has been carried out by Mr. Ross.
Tip 2: Quantity
Every surgeon will take photographs of every patient he/she operates on. In Mr. Ross’s practice over 50% of patients are happy for these images to be shared on line. Mr. Ross updates his before and after images on a regular basis with limited selection bias. In the modern era of openness and transparency, the sharing of pictures is an essential part of patient education and one must question why a surgeon would not post his/her before and after pictures. If a surgeon has relatively few pictures there is a good chance they do not have results to show. Patients must look for a surgeon with a large selection of preop and postop pictures.
Tip 3: Look for images that go together
Always check that the before and after image are from the same patient. Looking at moles, freckles, eye/hair colors are a good way of checking this. Always check at what point postop the images are taken and also whether there are a mix of photos at various time frames. Visualizing long term results is very important as it not only demonstrates a surgeons experience but also that he/she follows up his/her patients on a regular basis.
Tip 4: Quality
Make sure the position of patient in the pre and postop images is standardized. Ideally the lighting should be similar and the image quality similar. Beware if the photos look out of date and always look at the date the images have been posted on the website. Mr. Ross updates his images on a monthly basis and the dates of posting are easily visualized.
Tip 5: Look for images similar to you preoperatively.
Try not to look at the best postop results only. You are best to look through the preop photos and find those that are most like you and then look at what has been achieved. If the surgeon is experienced you should be able to find a range of results like you. From this you can discuss with your surgeon what you like / don’t like about his/her work. This often helps empower you to make the decision as to which procedure to proceed with. It is useful to let your surgeon know what you desired look although this should not be the priority when you look through an image gallery.
Tip 6: What if your surgeon does not show you any preop and postop images?