Why do surgeons place before-and-after photos online? Patients can review the photos at a leisurely pace, in their own homes, without any pressure to purchase. They give patients a sense of that surgeon’s aesthetic eye and results, thus allowing them to make an easy decision whether or not to pursue a consultation. It is a great time saver for doctor and patient. Photos also give you an impression of both the impact and limitations of a procedure. A variety of patient photos will give you an even better idea of the range of results. Are your expectations grounded? If not, you may want to reconsider surgery. You’ll save money and heartache. No doctor wants unhappy patients.
However, be especially discriminating when looking at before and after photos. Is there consistency between before-and-after photos in the following:
1) Lighting: look out for poorly-lit befores coupled with well-lit afters.
2) Poses or expressions: smiling and lifting the chin in after facelift photos can be deceptive.
3) Angles: you should always compare before-and-after photos taken at the same angle (e.g. profile to profile)
4) Distance from camera (beware of fisheye distortion that can make before photos look especially bad which occurs if the photo is taken too closely to the subject)
It is not always possible to be 100% consistent as lighting can change at different times of the year and one cannot always suppress the smile of a happy patient. But beware of a pattern of inconsistent photos. A detail-oriented surgeon will also be a detail-oriented photographer.