It’s not breaking news that before and after photos are one of the top resources people trust when making a major medical decision. But how many photos do they need to see? The short answer: a lot.

In a survey of 1,039 consumers considering cosmetic surgery, 69 percent said they need to see 11 or more sets of photo to confidently pick a procedure. That number is even higher (77 percent) if they’re using photos to choose a doctor.

Of that group, the majority want not 11, not 12, but at least 30 sets of photos. When choosing a procedure, 29 percent of respondents said they want 30 or more before and after sets. That number is 26 percent when picking a doctor.

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Consumers don’t want just any photo either. Three qualities took the lead for what’s most important to see in before and after photos: seeing someone who looks like themselves (28 percent), seeing a range of outcomes including outcomes that aren’t as good (27 percent), and knowing specifics about the case, such as age or treatment details (25 percent).

Least important: the quality of the photo (2 percent).


List: What's Most Important in Before & After Photos?


The findings further confirm a trend long seen on RealSelf: people are hungry for any and all information about what they’re getting into. The more a doctor can provide that information, the better satisfied and better informed the potential patient.


See before and after photos at RealSelf.