How Can I Check the Ability of a Rhinoplasty Surgeon?

I am planning to have my nasal tip refined abroad. So far, after contacting several surgeries, I have found one boarded Rhinoplasty surgeon I feel comfortable with. However,they haven't sent me any post-op pictures because, according to them, they do not get to see patients after the healing process and therefore don't have any pictures they could release. I tried getting in contact with previous patients, but have not received a reply.

Is that a reason enough to bounce back, and to look somewhere else? Or should I still consider traveling abroad to have a consultation?

Doctor Answers 8

Before & After Photos Can Tell You Alot About the Surgeon's Ability

There are several things that patients need to consider when choosing their rhinoplasty surgeon. These include:

  • View the Surgeons Rhinoplasty Before & After Results:
    • Most rhinoplasty surgeons maintain a portfolio of examples of their results that compare before and after photos, and many qualified rhinoplasty surgeons have a "Results Gallery" on their websites. You can tell alot about your potential results by looking to see their previous work.
  • Physician Referrals:
    • Inquire with other physicians about who they would recommend for your surgery.
  • Ask to See Simulated Results:
    • Your rhinoplasty surgeon should analyze your pre-operative photographs with you and be able to show you graphically their intended results. Some physicians prefer to use tracing paper to overlay your photographs, while others may show your photos with computer morphing software. Recently, 3D computer imaging has become available.
  • Trust Your Instincts:
    • Find a rhinoplasty surgeon who understands your goals, expectations, and desires. Communication is paramount, and you should feel comfortable with your surgeon. Trust your gut.

Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 145 reviews

Consider rhinopalsty closer to home

That is absolutely a reason to bounce back. If the surgeon cannot show you any before and after photos, it is a huge red flag. Surgeons in other countries are not regulated as strictly as in the United States and United Kingdom. In fact, some of them might even show you somebody else's surgical results and claim them as theirs.

What is the reason you want to travel abroad for rhinoplasty? Is it the cost? Consider the cost of having to deal with a permanent deformity on your face for the rest of your life, and the cost of the procedures to reconstruct it. Trust me, it will be much higher than the money you are trying to save now.

If you cannot afford to have surgery by an experienced surgeon, who will be there for you during your recovery and afterwards, then wait a year or two until you can afford it. In the meanwhile, have consultations with several surgeons, look at their before and after photos, and make sure you are comfortable with your decision.

Stella Desyatnikova, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Before and after photos

The best way to check the ability of a rhinoplasty surgeon is to look at many of their before-and-after results. Look for a rhinoplasty surgeon who is performing 200 to 300 rhinoplasties per year and has been doing it for many, many years. Carefully study all of the surgeons’ before-and-after results and find somebody you feel comfortable with. Most of the world’s preeminent rhinoplasty surgeons are located within the United States.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 143 reviews

You should be concerned!

The only way you have of telling how good the surgeon is is by looking at his before and 1 year after photos--everything else is marketing. Seek an experienced rhinoplasty surgeon with before and after photos or real patients to evaluate his work! 

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

You should see some results before you decide

Hello Benduca,

Rhinoplasty is a very difficult operation and requires extensive training and experience along with a good aesthetic sense. Not only does your surgeon need to be competent, but you need to like his aesthetic and agree on what the plan is for your nose.

I would suggest you make sure that you have seen many results that you like and/or spoken to several happy patients before making your final decision. Only then can you give yourself the best chance for achieving the nose you want.

Good luck.

Jason Litner, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Seek other consultations

Any reputable surgeon has absolutely no problem getting patients back for follow-up pictures. We have literally hundreds of pre- and post-op pictures of our rhinoplasty patients. In fact our website provides many examples of results on patients who have given us permission to use their pictures.

If a surgeon has no pictures and no web site then it is my guess that they are not as experienced as they claim. The person I would select to do my nose would be someone Board Certified in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and has done at least 1000 rhinoplasty cases. they should be able to show pictures and allow you to talk with previous patients about their experience. In my opinion they should also be able to do the case under intravenous sedation and it is helpful if they can do the procedure in their own accredited surgi-center.

S. Randolph Waldman, MD
Lexington Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Take Care of Your Face

While many capable and competent surgeons around the world provide patients with excellent results, you should be very careful about receiving care in another country. Unless you have the means to travel back and forth in the event of a problem, you may be left with difficulty in receiving post-operative care at home. It's not that physicians in London will not be willing to help you, but the original operating surgeon is always the best person to provide you with care, as he or she is the only one that knows your exact operation. In that context, he or she is the only person well suited to deal with problems after the fact.

Be wary of any physician who claims to not have long term follow up pictures.

Be prepared to visit for a consultation before your surgery is scheduled.

Try to have any surgeon abroad give you the names of competent people at home that can help with your aftercare. Then verify that they know eachother.

Good luck

Richard W. Westreich, MD
Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Proceed with Rhinoplasty with caution

Rhinoplasty surgery is a procedure where experience really matters. An experienced surgeon should be able to show you literally dozens of before/after pictures to give you an idea of what is realistic.

Although there are some excellent surgeons in all countries, I would question why you are not looking in your home town. I think there are dangers in having any surgery done abroad and then not being able to follow up with your original surgeon.

Dean Fardo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

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.