Plastic surgeons around the globe use before and after photos to promote the results of popular procedures, including liposuction, facelift surgery and rhinoplasty. In some cases, the photos have been photoshopped and do not accurately represent the results of a procedure. Plastic surgeons and doctors in New Zealand are now unable to use any type of before-and-after photo advertising on their websites, print marketing materials, or in their office advertising.
The Medical Council in New Zealand has issued new guidelines that state, “You may use before and after photos during consultations, but you must not use them in advertisements.” Dr. John Adams of the New Zealand Medical Council, says that many photos are simply misleading. In many cases, the pictures do not accurately portray the doctor’s talent, skills, or truly represent the patient’s results.
Plastic surgeons say that the before and after photos play an important role when attracting patients before the consultation. Reviewing before and after photos is part of the decision-making process, and plastic and cosmetic surgeons continue to update their in-office photo collections and websites to showcase the latest procedures.
However, New Zealand’s Medical Council states that these photos often foster false expectations about the procedure. A representative from the Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery states that many patients are upset about the decision, because reviewing these pictures is important when making choices about surgery.
Since the council and other agencies cannot determine whether a photograph has been photoshopped or modified in any way, they have simply issued guidelines that no before and after photos can be used in any type of patient advertising.
These guidelines only pertain to New Zealand plastic and cosmetic surgeons. Physicians in the United States are still permitted to use before and after photos in their advertising within North America, and in some countries overseas.