It’s a totally reasonable thing to do. Patients, when going in to see their plastic surgeon, bring “wish pics.” That is, a photo of someone (doesn’t have to be famous), that’s had the operation and the results they’re looking for. But reasonable intent can translate into unreasonable expectations.
What’s wrong with wish pics?
Patients bring in their wish pics all the time. It’s definitely helpful to see where they are and where they’re trying to go. This exercise also provides insight as to their expectations and self-image. Some patients have reasonable expectations. Whereas others have an inaccurate self-image preop and an inaccurate appreciation of what’s possible.
Wish pics therefore give an opportunity to have a frank and honest discussion. Sometimes they’ll bring in photos of celebrities that are of a different ethnicity and body shape that is physically impossible to emulate. However, I recently noticed an unexpected pitfall, especially in the case of breast augmentation – they bring photos of clothed patients.
In some cases, when patients see themselves in the mirror, they view themselves naked. Then they look at a photo of someone else with a breast augmentation and say, “I want to look like that!” But the person in the photo is clothed, which covers up issues of asymmetry, stretch marks, lack of cleavage and other natural imperfections.
So you have to prepare the patient that they can’t conflate how good the breasts look in the photos and how they will look naked. In other words, don’t focus on how “perfect” the breasts look clothed. They may not look that perfect postop when looking in the mirror without clothes on.
One classic example is a patient wanting the cleavage present in a photo of a clothed person. It’s unclear if that cleavage is due to a push-up bra (which wouldn’t be utilized when naked) or if it’s au natural.
Don’t put the breasts on a pedestal
It’s also important that the patient doesn’t “put the breast on a pedestal!” Patients need to be reassured that everyone, even those in the photos, have imperfections when naked.
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