Plastic Surgery

3 Good Signs & 4 Bad Omens in Plastic Surgery before & after Photos

two women viewing a smartphone

To showcase their work and help you get a better idea of the kinds of results you might be able to expect, most plastic surgeons now provide example photos online. However, not every before and after photo is a good indication of what you might be able to expect out of your plastic surgery at that particular practice.

If you’re not sure what to look for in plastic surgery photos, take a look at these good and bad signs to consider.

The Good: Maintained or Improved Symmetry

No one’s face or body is 100 percent symmetrical, but plastic surgery should, at the very least, maintain your natural symmetry while addressing the trouble spots you’ve pointed out at your consultation. In many cases, cosmetic procedures can help to improve asymmetry, such as when one breast is naturally much larger than the other.

Look for symmetrical features from one photo to the next when assessing your plastic surgeon’s surgical skill and artistic eye.

The Good: Inconspicuous Scars

Scarring is inevitable after any surgical procedure, but a skilled plastic surgeon should be able to place incisions in such a way that are hidden or have a minimized appearance once they’ve healed. If scarring is very noticeable or looks as though it hasn’t healed very well, these can be red flags when looking at before and after plastic surgery photos.

The Good: Natural-Looking Results

The goal of plastic surgery is to make you look like an enhanced and happier version of yourself, so you want to see before and after photos that appear very smooth and natural.

Additionally, you should see a variety of different body shapes and sizes when sifting through pictures, particularly ones that are closer to your body type, to reflect that plastic surgeon’s ability to custom-tailor cosmetic procedures to fit the unique needs of each person.

The Bad: All the Photos Look the Same

If every photo features someone with a petite build, for example, or if all the results look like a cookie-cutter mold, you might want to reconsider using this plastic surgeon. As mentioned above, your results should be customized to fit your natural anatomy and goals, so you want to work with someone who’s able to adapt and cater to a wide range of body types and needs.

The Bad: Strange Lighting or Camera Angles

For obvious reasons, editing plastic surgery before and after photos is a big no-no. In addition to blatant signs of photoshopping, be on the lookout for lighting discrepancies between the before and after photos, as well as odd camera angles or appear washed out, that don’t give you a good look at the final results.

The Bad: Bright Red Scarring

It can take some time for scars to fully heal, so it’s not unusual if they look bright red, raised or swollen for the first several weeks or months. However, if the scars in the “after” pictures look like this, ask the plastic surgeon when they were taken. If tummy tuck scars look like this two years afterwards, for example, that’s a red flag that you might want to choose a different plastic surgeon.

The Bad: Few or Outdated Photos

In today’s day and age, providing before and after pictures online is so easy to do that it’s become a red flag if yours only provides one or two. Or, if the pictures that are available are from decades ago, it’s perfectly fine to ask to see some more recent photos. If none are available, keep searching for the right plastic surgeon.


3 Good Signs & 4 Bad Omens in Plastic Surgery before & after Photos
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3 Good Signs & 4 Bad Omens in Plastic Surgery before & after Photos
Not sure what to look for in plastic surgery photos? Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. David Dellinger of Austin, Texas explains the good and the bad.
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August 22, 2018
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