Are Before and After Pictures Good Representations?

I'm considering Breast implants but I'm really put off by all the before and after pictures I see online. Are these typically the final result? They all look so plastic and distorted to me. I'm terrified of ending up worse off than I am now. Are the pictures a good representation of what these women end up looking like?

Doctor Answers 16

What Constitutes Successful Breast Implant Results

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Breast implant results can cover a spectrum of shape and sizes as well as local preferences for what constitutes a desirable, aesthetic result.   It is well known among plastic surgeons that some areas of the country consider the ideal breast to be much larger than other area.   Miami, Texas and Los Angeles are all known to be areas where the size of the breast implants are much larger than in the Northeast cities.  

It is important that your plastic surgeon shares your aesthetic and is a good listener.  
Bring in pictures from the internet or magazines of your ideal breast.   This will be a good accurate starting point for a discussion.   If you do not feel that the surgeon is hearing you, find another surgeon!

New York Plastic Surgeon

Before and after breast augmentation photos

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If the after images you see on the websites of plastic surgeons ook plastic and distorted, keep looking.  My preference is a natural looking result, but we all have different aesthetic sensibilities. With much research you may find plastic surgeons that share your ideal.

 lThere 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.

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 cosmetic surgeon's website thoroughly, and get a feeling for that doctor's individual approach and practice philosophy.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Before and after photographs

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The best thing for  you to do is to have a consultation and talk with a surgeon about your goals and he can reviw with you the possibilities and realistic expectations.

Before and after photos.

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The best thing to do is ask your surgeon to show you before photos that are most similar to your own.  Please keep in mind that everyone's body is different and some of the photos you are looking at are not the results you will achieve.

Yes, presuming they are honest

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I think galleries are great. The best ones will have a certain number of consecutive cases (eliminates cherry picking) although this is almost impossible to do at a website where patient permission for display is required. It is difficult to get permission from most people for this sort of thing.

I like to show problem cases when patients visit the office. Fortunately, good plastic surgeons seldom have catastrophic outcomes, but we all have results that we wish were better.

Finally, some patients discover that they really don't like the good results. In that case, an operation that would result in dissatisfaction is avoided.

Before and after breast pictures

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It is very difficult to get accurate and completely even before-and-after pictures but they are essential for the patient to evaluate the results of a procedure on others and results of the surgeon they are considering. With few exceptions, I don't find computer generated before-and-after pictures helpful and I particularly avoid looking at pictures from magazines or elsewhere.

Before-and-after pictures should be taken in standard views and standard lighting with the exact same amount of body shown and the same distance from the patient. The pictures should be those of patients of the doctor in question and the surgeon should have permission from the patient to show them. They should have no identifying characteristics of the patient shown (although some things like tattoos are hard to avoid). Standard breast pictures are taken with the patient upright and with arms loosely out from the sides with usually the lower end of the neck to the bellybutton showing. Other views include a 3/4 view and a side view showing only the near breast in profile. The pictures should include the type of implant and its shape or profile characteristics as well as whether it is above or below the pectoralis muscle, but not necessarily the volume as this is relative to the patient whose size is difficult to judge in chest-only pictures.

Beware things like only a few examples, pictures taken at different angles or under different conditions, and pictures of patients not done by the surgeon in question. There is no good way, in my opinion, to show the patient exactly what she will look like using pictures but they can be helpful to evaluate the effects of different profile implants and the typical results of the operating surgeon.

Scott L. Replogle, MD
Boulder Plastic Surgeon

Before and After Pictures for Breast Augmentation

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Before and after pictures are necessary in our business. Potential patients see these and decide, base on them, if they what to have a consultation with us. The problem is that the pictures are taken in a non-realistic fashion. They are all from shoulder to waist with arms to the side against a blue back round. What would be better is to see patients in clothing before and after to get a better idea. But alas this may not happen. In addition most post op pics are taken around 6 weeks post op because it's difficult to get patients back after 6 months for great post ops.

So listen to the surgeons who you see. Look at the pictures and see who you make the connection with. You'll know when you find the right surgeon.

Breast augmentation photos.

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There are some really natural looking results out there following breast augmentation.  Look at our web site.  But you are quite right.  You have to be very careful who does the surgery

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Actually, I'd say the pictures always look worse than the patient

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Depending on what you're starting with and depending on the size of implant you choose, the results of breast implants are usually very good. And Ithink that my patients look bettter in person than they do in the pictures. Go ahead and do it. I think you will be happy. Just don't go for anything too large.

G. Gregory Gallico III, MD
Boston Plastic Surgeon

Surgeon is only as good as their pictures

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Before and After pictures are a good representation of a physicians work. You must realize that most doctors only put their best results on their website. We try to place as many body types and results, good or fair, on our site to give a patient a realistic idea of what they can achieve. If the photos on the site are bad, don't go to that doctor. Realize that everyone is different and your results will never be exactly the same as any other patient.

Good Luck!

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.