Are you required to take plastic surgery before and after pictures? The question here is understandable. Before and after pictures seem ubiquitous. They’re everywhere. And that can lead to the sense that they are universal. But that’s not necessarily the case, and patients generally don’t have to take any photos they don’t want to–and they certainly have control over the publication of those photos.

Are You Required to Take Plastic Surgery Before and After Photos at Any Time?

Before and after pictures are one of the staples of plastic and cosmetic surgery. Almost all cosmetic surgery clinics will have before and after images on their website somewhere, if not in a full blown gallery. And they’re incredibly useful–these galleries are a great way of showing patients what they can realistically expect from a plastic or cosmetic surgery transformation.

These images can be so prevalent that some patients feel as though they are universal–that everyone gets their before and after picture taken. And it can lead to a very reasonable question: are you required to take plastic surgery before and after photos?

The simple answer to this question is: no. You are not. You have complete and total autonomy when it comes to these images, and no reputable surgeon will pressure you into taking such photos. However, before and after images can be useful for a wide variety of purposes, so there might be some benefit to you should you want to take these images.

What Are Before and After Photos?

For those who haven’t seen them in various places, before and after photos are simply images you take before and after your procedure. In most cases, patients are positioned similarly (if you were facing the camera in the “before” picture, you should be facing the camera in the “after” picture).

Usually, these photos are taken against a dark background, to better showcase the subject matter (the patient). It’s also a good idea to ensure there’s nothing going on in the background–you want to make sure nothing’s distracting from the patient, after all!

There are very real reasons why some patients would be uncomfortable with taking before and after photos. In many cases, due to the nature of plastic surgery, these photos could involve nudity. In other cases, the photos might highlight something the patient feel self conscious about (even if that particular issue is what the surgery addressed–so it’s no longer present in the “after” photos).

Benefits of Before and After Photos

That said, there are definitely some benefits to taking before and after photos. First and foremost, not all before and after photos need to be published on a surgeon’s website (or anywhere else). Some before and after photos can be taken exclusively for personal use. These personal photos, then, will help you track your progress and notice changes as you’re healing.

This is especially true with procedures that produce relatively subtle results. So, procedures such as Botox injections or Coolsculpting treatments really benefit from having these before and after photos taken because you’ll be able to notice (and appreciate) smaller changes over time.

And if you are okay with your photos being public, there are definitely some other benefits to before and after photos–most significantly to other patients. When other patients see what the before and after looks like on a procedure, they get a sense of what the procedure can accomplish and the general work performed by the surgeon.

Before And After Photos Are Here to Stay

Before and after photos aren’t going anywhere. They are definitely here to stay, in large part because they’re such a useful tool for both patients and surgeons. But that doesn’t mean you need to feel compelled to take any photos you don’t want. What’s more, if you do take photos, you can usually stipulate what kind of privacy requirements you have.

For example, you could require that your face be blurred in your images or that your images only be used in certain settings (in-office but not on the website, for example).

The point is that you have a lot of options, and most surgeons will be totally open to discussing what happens with your before and after photos (if you even take any). So don’t be afraid of having those discussions and talking about what you’d like to see. If you have real concerns about what happens with your before and after pictures, talk about those concerns during your initial consultation with your plastic surgeon.

Before and after photos are definitely useful–and they won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean that they’re universal. Are you required to take plastic surgery before and after pictures? Definitely not! But it is certainly something to consider if you’re comfortable with the idea.

If you have questions about before and after photos, talk to your plastic or cosmetic surgeon during your consultation to get personalized information!


About the Author: Nick Engebretson has been helping plastic and cosmetic surgeons market themselves for over twenty years. He’s always talking to surgeons about what’s trending and what’s coming next.

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