Your nose is the central feature of your face and, when you don’t like something about your nose, it becomes hard to get away from it. For this reason, many people consider rhinoplasty. When choosing a rhinoplasty surgeon, you want to look at their available before and after photos. But, how do you know if these photos really represent the final nose job results? And how do you know what to really look for when going over plastic surgery photos?
Timing and Location of Before and After Photos Make a Difference
When it comes to rhinoplasty before and after photos, consistency is essential. You want UNEDITED photos taken in the same place, with the same background, and the same light. However, there are some other things to consider as well and, for this, you may need to ask your surgeon some questions about their photos before really digging in and looking.
- When Were the Before Photos Taken – Before photos should be taken during the consultation or sometime before surgery to get a natural view of the nose from every angle. In some practices, surgeons take before photos on the operating table. Unfortunately, these photos are typically taken after local anesthesia and epinephrine are already injected into the nose. These injections are used to minimize bleeding and pain, but they can make the nose appear larger and affect the real appearance of the before photo.
- When Were the After Photos Taken – Similar to before photos, when the after photos are taken can make a huge difference. Ideally, after photos should be taken when all the swelling has gone down, and the results are revealed. This can take up to a year, so many surgeons choose to do photos at the one-year mark. Some may opt to take photos during the healing process, offering you the ability to see how the nose heals as it reaches the final stage. However, taking photos too early can also be deceiving. Photos of closed rhinoplasty procedures taken on the operating table after surgery can show dramatic differences However, common problems with this technique, such as pinched tips and supratip deformities, do not surface until six to 12 months after the procedure.
- Where are the Photos Taken – Ideally, all before and after photos should be taken in the same room, with the same backdrop and the same lighting. This allows for photo consistency and allows you to better see the difference between photos and how rhinoplasty really made a difference.
What to Look for When Viewing Rhinoplasty Photos
When it comes to seeing rhinoplasty results, the best way is to ask if your surgeon has before and after videos or in person instead of just photos. Videos give you the ability to really see the nose from all angles, as well as how it appears when a person talks or moves their face. Unfortunately, videos are not common, so you must rely on before and after photos. The following important points can help you make the most of your photo evaluation.
- No Alterations or Photoshopping – When looking at before and after photos, there should be no sign of photoshop edits or alterations as these can interfere with your ability to see the true results. If you suspect editing, ask to see the original photo file if possible.
- Look for Multiple Views – Because the nose is a central part of the face, you want to know how the procedure affected every aspect of the nose. There should be photos showing a front, profile and ¾ view of the face and nose.
- Look for a Wide Variety of Patients – In order to see how well your surgeon can transform a nose, look for a wide variety of patients. You want to see people with different skin tones, skin thickness, and differences in the nose itself, such as wide and narrow noses, large bumps or a flat bridge, and different size nostrils. When it comes to your nose personally, also look for results on people with similar facial features and nose concerns as you have.
- Look for Uniformity – All photos, both before and after, should be taken with the same background and the same lighting to get an accurate comparison. In addition, if before photos were taken with no makeup, so should after photos.
Viewing a surgeon’s before and after photos is a great way to see what you can expect with your rhinoplasty. However, you must keep in mind that everyone is different, and your results will differ from someone else. During your consultation, your surgeon will examine your anatomy and what you hope to achieve with rhinoplasty and explain how those results may or may not be possible. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and if you are not happy with the before and after photos you see, do not feel obligated to choose that surgeon. Choosing rhinoplasty and a new nose is a very personal decision and one you should be happy with.
Dr. Davis completed his residency in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at Stanford University Medical Center and is proud to be board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. After practicing for many years in the Bay Area, Dr. Davis has chosen private practice to allow him to provide the most personal and individualized patient care. Dr. Davis grew up in New England and graduated magna cum laude from Colby College in Waterville, Maine. He then moved to Rochester, NY to attend medical school at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, where he was in inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society.