Is it possible to use before and after breast implant photos to choose a size? Not entirely, but they can be a useful part of the evaluation process along with other steps like trying on “sizers” and handling real breast implants. Here are some pointers that will serve you well in using photos effectively during your research.

How to Tell If the Photos Are Accurate

Amateur before and after breast implant photos that patients post on the web are rarely accurate enough to assess real results. That’s because patients typically don’t have the knowledge, experience or equipment to take clinical comparison shots properly. The photos you are viewing are likely to be most accurate if the following features are the same in both the before and after shots:

  • The quality of the photo
  • The angle of the patient’s body relative to the camera
  • The distance at which the photo was taken
  • The lighting used
  • The background color
  • The patient’s posture
  • The patient’s body weight

These are the kind of breast implant photos you should see on reputable plastic surgery websites.

More Information Is Better

If a photo is only labeled with the volume of ccs used in the implant, that’s not really enough information to work with. The best before and after breast implant photos will include the following data:

  • The volume in ccs for each breast individually (since it may not be identical for both breasts)
  • The brand of implant used (e.g. Allergan or Mentor)
  • The material used (silicone or saline)
  • The shape of the implant (anatomical or round)
  • The profile/projection of the implant (this can affect how big the size actually looks)
  • How the implants were placed (under or over the muscle)
  • How long after the operation the “after” photo was taken
  • Whether any other procedures were done concurrently (such as a breast lift)
  • The height and weight of the patient

Body Type Similarities

When you start searching through before and after breast implant photos, pay special attention to those patients who have a body type that looks like yours. It can be helpful to take full frontal, side view and three quarter photos of your own breasts for comparison. That’s because what you “see” when you look in the mirror may not be what you actually look like. For example, you may think that your breasts are smaller than they really are.

When you hold up your own photo next to that of other patient’s “before” breast implant photos, here are some characteristics to look at (besides breast size):

  • Shoulder width relative to ribcage width
  • Ribcage width relative to waist width
  • Amount of breast drooping
  • Amount of breast projection
  • How widely spaced the breasts are on the chest
  • The placement of the nipples and what direction they point

The more closely these factors match your own body, the more likely it is that you might achieve similar results with the same size of implant.