The importance of being earnest—with the help of photos

Every so often I see a patient who comes back after having had a procedure  done who is not 100% happy with her results—until I show them to her!

Before and after photos

This is why all cosmetic plastic surgeons will take a before and after photo of their patients before any procedure. I must admit that I do not take a photo of everyone coming in for Botox, but maybe I should.
Not only does the patient forget his or her “before,” but so does the plastic surgeon; a photograph is the only way to remind ourselves of exactly what happened.

How we see ourselves

Our brains  have an amazing ability to internalize and become proprietors of the image they see of the self. At its basic level, there is no melancholic longing for the “old” image—if there is, it comes from the higher brain function involved in emotions, psyche, ego, etc.
After a rhinoplasty, the cosmetic patient will not recognize themselves when they see their image in the mirror for a few days until the process is complete. Then he or she forgets the face they had before and becomes someone else. This is as it should be. Our brains need to recognize us, after all!This leads to problems for the cosmetic surgeon when dealing with patients who say that their completed surgery did not do this or that. Just seeing the photos suffices to make one realize they had a great result that even they can see. Sure, there may be improvements possible, but most board-certified cosmetic plastic surgeons will leave you satisfied most of the time.The funny thing is that it’s not just a large surgery that has this effect—it’s also simple procedures like facial dermal skin fillers like in one of my patients. She was 90% happy with her results but was saying “What about this and that?” When she saw her before and after, she was elated and 100% happy. Now her mom is coming to visit.

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