I have long been a critic of plastic surgeons showing “before and after” photographs to new or prospective patients. There are three reasons why I believe that this is a poor way in which to make such an important choice.

Human nature:
It is natural for the surgeon to only show the very best results that he or she has achieved. Some may call this “pride”. I think that it is “sales”, and it is, in my opinion, intellectually dishonest.

Time insensitivity:
The patient has no way of knowing when the photo was taken. Possibly, it was years ago when the work ethic and skill of the surgeon was quite different than it might be now.

Many patients over the years have given permission for their photos to be shown; however, even though they have waived their right to privacy, I believe that their privacy should not be compromised by their eagerness to demonstrate their results. With the pervasiveness of the web, this becomes especially crucial to patient confidentiality.

I can certainly understand the perspective of the patient in wanting to know as much as possible about the talent of someone in whom they are about to place their trust. I, however, am of the opinion that viewing a select few photos is not the best way of choosing the right doctor for each individual. Rather, the choice should be made based up training, credentials, experience and reputation in the community. Furthermore, the patient in looking for the “right” surgeon should look for someone with whom they have a rapport and a common agreement as to the plan and the goals to be achieved.