Before-and-after photos will give you a sense of the quality of the plastic surgeon’s work, and his level of skill. You’ll want to review the images closely, looking for the placement and prominence of the incisions, and whether the breast implants look symmetrical and natural.

You will also want to verify that the before-and-after photos you’re viewing actually represent the plastic surgeon’s work (it’s easy enough to pull breast implant images from the internet). You should also ask your plastic surgeon if the images have been retouched in any way—a skilled Photoshop artist could minimize the appearance of scars or other imperfections, giving you a false sense of your plastic surgeon’s skills at placing breast implants.

Review the before-and-after photos to get a sense of what’s achievable through plastic surgery with your particular body type. While computer-generated renderings using images of your own body will be a good starting point, nothing beats seeing real photos of actual patients for getting a true sense of what your body may look like after the surgery is completed.

A plastic surgeon’s portfolio should include pictures of women with a wide range of body types and breast implant sizes. Look for past patients who have a body type that looks like yours, and you’ll get a realistic picture of what different sized breasts will look like on that body type—and what size breast implants you can realistically add without overwhelming your frame. You may discover that you want to change the size of the breast implant after seeing that a similarly sized person looks “off” with that size of implant.

Pictures that are taken right after plastic surgery and in the weeks of healing will give you a sense of what you can expect as you recover from breast implant surgery. You’ll have a more realistic picture of what you’ll look like immediately after the surgery—bruising, swelling, sutures and all—and what to expect as you recover.

Before-and-after photos will give you confidence that you’re making the right choice. If you’re happy with the quality of the surgeon’s work and the size of the breast implants you want to get, you’ll be ready to move on to the next step—scheduling your plastic surgery.