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Beware of Doctored Before and After Photos

Just about every plastic surgeon on the web has a before-and-after patient photo gallery filled with real patient results. Yet sometimes, the pictures might seem a little too good to be true. Here’s a few ways you can tell if a photo has been doctored to exaggerate the actual outcome.

Check the Lighting

Lighting and angles in photos can make a huge difference. The wrong lighting can be very unflattering, especially if it’s casting shadows that accentuate the signs of aging in the face, like hollowness at the temples and cheekbones. Angled slightly differently, however, and all those problem spots seem to magically disappear. Compare both photos to make sure the lighting looks like it’s coming from the same direction in each, and the pictures are taken from the same angle.

Digital Stretching

Another trick is to digitally stretch the photo just slightly, enough to make the patient look slimmer after a procedure. One way to catch this is by looking for differences in the after photo that shouldn’t be there, like a change in width between the eyes. You can also examine the size and shape of birthmarks or tattoos to see if they look distorted in the after photos, which would indicate some digital editing.

Get the Guided Tour

The best way to view before and after photos isn’t on a website, but in person with your plastic surgeon. This gives the surgeon a chance to point out many of the subtleties of patient results that the untrained eye could easily miss. You’ll also have a chance to ask for referrals from former patients, which any legitimate and skilled plastic surgeon should be happy to provide.

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