Plastic surgeons often advise potential patients to view before-and-after photos online before they meet with surgeons. It helps patients get an idea of what results are possible for them and what a particular doctor can do. Evaluating these photos can be especially important in delicate surgeries where natural-looking results are crucial, such as a face lift. My Chicago patients often seem more at ease when they have viewed photos of my face lift work before a consultation with me. If you’re considering having a face lift, keep these tips in mind when reviewing before-and-after photos:
- Results should look natural. In the photo taken after surgery, the patient’s face should not look like a different person. He or she should merely look like a younger, more refreshed version of the person in the first photo. It should never be obvious that the patient has had surgery, so drastic changes or a “pulled” look are red flags.
- Pictures in each set should be similar. The patient should be posed the same way in each photo, and the lighting should be the same. Extending or tucking a chin, flexing facial muscles, or smiling can make a world of difference between photos, and so can better lighting. Makeup can also greatly change someone’s appearance, so be sure it is similar in each photo, as well. Good surgical practices direct their patients during photo shoots to make sure these factors don’t significantly affect the outcome.
- The more examples, the better. Good surgeons also provide a lot of examples of their work. This way, prospective patients are more likely to find photos that exhibit some of their own concerns. Surgeons should also be able to provide more photos during a consultation than what they have on their websites. Many patients who are uncomfortable having their photos on a website will give permission to show their photos in a more private office setting.
Before-and-after photos can be a very valuable tool for patients if they know how to use them. That’s why I keep my own face lift photo gallery up to date.