before and afterJust like you wouldn’t want to buy a car before test-driving it, you should never go into something as important as plastic surgery without some idea of what the results will be like. Unlike a new car, however, you can’t have a “test” surgery before you have the real thing. That’s why a surgeon’s “before and after” photos are so important; they give you something tangible to assess before undergoing a procedure.

So what do you look for when you’re going over a plastic surgeon’s “before and after” photos? First of all, pick out the pictures of patients who are similar to you. If you’re getting breast augmentation, look for someone with a like body type. If you’re going in for rhinoplasty, look for someone with a like nose. The closer their looks are to yours, the better you’ll be able to envision what your own results will be. Keep an eye out for symmetry and scars (both their size and placement) as well. A cosmetic surgeon’s job is to be not just a skilled technician, but an artist; if you look closely enough at their patients’ photos, you will be able to develop an idea of how well they fulfill those duties.

Most cosmetic surgeons have some “before and after” photos on their websites (I certainly do), but keep in mind that those are only a small sample of their entire portfolio. They are sure to have many more photos available for perusal in their office. Before you take the plunge and choose a plastic surgeon, make sure you ask to see their portfolio and inspect it carefully!