Breast Augmentation Before and After Pictures

I'm in the process of deciding whether or not to have breast implants, and I'm looking at all of these - can I have some expert tips on what to look for in the before and after pictures?

Editor tip: See our popular breast implants before and after photos gallery

Doctor Answers 39

Breast Augmentation before and after Photos need to be consistent

There is no denying the fact that 'before and after' images are the most powerful and effective means for a surgeon to communicate their aesthetic sensibility. They give the prospective patient an immediate sense of what that surgeon envisions as a favorable postoperative result, and thus allow an individual to make a relatively quick decision as to whether or not that surgical practice is one that they should investigate further.
My website includes images of more than 75 breast augmentation patients of mine. I have included a link below.

Prospective patients have a host of issues to consider when evaluating pre-op and postop images of cosmetic surgery patients. An outspoken plastic surgeon who is known for some keen observations is often quoted as saying that "A photograph is merely reflected light". Another telling maxim regarding cosmetic surgery photography is "Almost anything can be made to look good from at least one angle." Both of these observations speak to the fact that while such photographs should ideally communicate the true nature of a surgical outcome, there are inherent limitations to the two-dimensional nature of photography.

 You may not be aware that all board-certified plastic surgeons receive training in photography as they are trained as surgeons, so that they have a means to accurately document and communicate their surgical planning and the results of their handiwork. I personally believe that a surgeons's photographic technique and documentation provides a person who is considering surgery a very clear statement of how organized, meticulous, compulsive and attentive to detail that surgeon is. If I were a prospective patient I would not expect any of those qualities in the operating room if I did not see them in the 'before and after' photographs. I believe that consistency and quality in photography is a reflection of consistency and quality in one's approach to patient care.

When evaluating photographs, also keep in mind the fact that many examples you see of a particular procedure may not look like you. Part of what makes the practice of plastic surgery so interesting and rewarding for me is the fact that no two patients are exactly alike, and thus each patient requires a fresh and personalized approach. Rather than trying to dissect how a particular result relates to you personally, view it in terms of that patient's particular 'starting point', and whether or not the surgical enhancement is aesthetically pleasing and natural-appearing.
Don't limit your investigation to an examination of photographs. Review the content of a plastic surgeon's website thoroughly, and get a feeling for that doctor's individual approach, training, experience and practice philosophy.

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

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Learning from breast implants before and after galleries

There are a number of things that you can learn from photos.

If you find someone that is about the same size breasts, and the same height and weight as you, with the same body habitus, you can get some idea of how your breasts may look with similar size and shape breast implants. Look at differences of profiles of implants to see how rounded you wish to have your implants.

You can also tell a lot about the surgeon and his attention to detail by looking at his photos. If they are reproducable, and the lighting is the same, the distance from the camera is the same, the background is the same, then that surgeon has better attention to detail. This may even give you a clue as to how much attention to detail they would take on doing your surgery. Hopefully this helps you find one or two things about yourself, and your doctor.

Dan Mills, MD FACS

Dan Mills, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Breast augmentation before and after photos

Hi Tia,

Thank you for your question.

Before and after photos can give you a good idea of the plastic surgeon's abilities. It is also a good way to get an idea of what you want from your breast augmentation, which is the most important thing. In order to understand possible realistic results, pay attention to:

  • Body type
  • Implant type
  • Degree of symmetry
  • Condition of breast before and after surgery

Every patient is different. However, looking at other patients similar to yourself, may help you visualize the look you want to achieve. In my personal opinion, most patients actually want to look natural, and this is what we typically strive to do.

However, some patients are looking for a larger size than their body fits and this can be done as long as they realize the increased risk of complications involved in this type of scenario.

In my office, we also have a list of past patients who have undergone the procedure you are interested in available to speak to you about their experience. This would be another option for you to consider when deciding what you want.

Thanks for your question. Have a great day!

Best regards,

Dr. Speron

Sam Speron, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

Breast Implant Plastic Surgery Before and after photos

Before and after photos are one of the most valuable pieces of information that a potiential patient can gather prior to a consultation. This information includes:

  • Information about the physician.
    • Physicians attention to detail. If the photos are sloppy, caution
    • Physician ethics. If the photos are "photo shopped", caution
    • Physician results. Take this with a grain of salt. Although we would all like to say that all of our pictures represent our average results, most plastic surgeons would be hesitant to show a "bad" result unless we are specifically discussing a complication
  • Information about yourself
    • You can identify how your breast differ from the "average" and see how that may fit into your results. For example, the amount of droop, the nipple position and symmetry
  • Information about what you are looking for
    • Finding a patient with similar build and breast size/ type before breast augmentation and noting the size and type of implant used to achieve what you would consider a pleasing result.

York Jay Yates, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

What to look for depends on what you are trying to learn

I am not a big proponent of pre and post op photos for breast augmentation. I feel that photos, while very interesting, can be potentially misleading. That being said, all of my breast augment patients want to see them. If you are trying to gain some insight into the skills of the surgeon, there are several things to look for.

One of the most important things to look for is symmetry in the final result. Look carefully at the pre-operative photos and look at how symmetrical or asymmetrical the breasts were before surgery and then look at the result. If the breasts lack symmetry at the start and has reasonable symmetry at the end, I think that this is an important point.

Another point to consider is the amount of ptosis (droop) in the breast. If the patient has some droop to the breast, note if it was corrected with the surgery. While large amounts of droop cannot be fixed with augmentation alone, smaller amounts can be made to look acceptable with good surgical skills.

Look at the placement of the implant as well. Is it placed sqarely behind the nipple and areola? Does the nipple and areola project forward, and not up or down?

Keep in mind most surgeons will show only their best cases, thus it may be hard to gain a lot of knowledge from them. If you see pre-op photos that show breasts of less then ideal anatomies and the results are good, that generally shows a skilled surgeon. If the starting anatomy is good, it is much easier to get a good result.

If you are trying to get an idea of how you will look after surgery from pre- and post- op photos, this is even harder to do. Many of my patients will scour the internet looking for people that have a similar build and similar breast anatomy that received implants of a certain size. While many people are comforted by finding such pictures, the photos still may not be an accurate representation of your particular final outcome. I think a frank discussion with your surgeon concerning the outcome may be more enlightening.

Phillip H. Nakano, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Helpful Tips for Reviewing Before & After Photos

Before and after photos are a great way to get familiar with the results your surgeon typically achieves. There are a few ways this can be helpful to you. For example, if one your goals is to achieve a really natural looking result with breast augmentation, you can look through a wide variety of examples of women with different body types and breast shapes. A highly skilled surgeon will be able to achieve a natural looking result across the board, and will understand how to totally customize the procedure to do the same for you.

Then you can get into the specifics. By looking at examples of women who have a similar body type and breast shape as your own, you can see what kind of results that surgeon achieved with different implant types, volumes and placements. If you are happy with the results you see - and could see yourself feeling comfortable with a similar result - then breast implants might be right for you. Before and after photos are never a guarantee for your own results, however, and if you're not satisfied with any of the photos you see from any surgeons you consult with, it might not be the right procedure for you.

Before and after photos

One thing you can do is find a body shape that is roughly the same as yours and see if you like the results. You can also check for other traits, such as skin tone, breast shape, and other things that you find are important to consider for your breast augmentation. Make sure to note the specifics of the before and if they have improved in the after.

Look for shapes you like

Look for characteristics that you like in a breast augmentation.  If the results are pleasing to you, and you express your goals to the surgeon, you should be able to get the outcomes you are looking for.

Before and after breast augmentation pictures

of course look at the photo book the doctor presents, keeping in mind that you will most likely see a select group of the surgeon's best results. it would be impossible to see all the surgeon's results but you can ask if he/she has examples of augmentations that present special challenges such as borderline ptosis where a lift could be reccommended, or not, asymmetry in size and shape between the 2 sides, tuberous ( long pointy even torpedo shaped breasts ), widely spaced breasts making cleavage a challenge, oversized implants which can lead to distortion and thinning of tissues, particularly if you have any of these conditions, or want very large implants, ask the surgeon to find a case similar to yours. if you have time get multiple consultations.

Look for Harmony, Balance, and Proportion in Pre and Postoperative Pictures

         It’s important to review pre and post operative pictures when selecting a plastic surgeon. These pictures can illustrate the quality of the surgeons work and the surgeon’s sense of aesthetics.

         Harmony, balance and proportion are aesthetic goals of every plastic surgeon. In addition, implant placement, symmetry, sag, shape and contour, are important considerations as well. When looking at pre and post operative pictures, it’s important to look at all of these issues, to determine the quality of the surgeon’s work.

         It’s important to remember that the surgeon doesn’t control all the variables when breast augmentation is performed. When evaluating surgical results with pre and post operative pictures, be aware that a large number of decisions that affect the final result are made by the patient. In some cases, patients desire an artificial look, while in others; they may want a natural look. Patients also have significant input on decisions regarding breast implant size.

         Pre and post operative pictures are helpful tools in the selection of a plastic surgeon. It’s also important that your surgeon be board certified and has experience performing breast augmentation surgery. 

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.