View Full Version : Why do most pre-op pics make the patient look unhappy?

08-11-2012, 03:41 PM
One thing that really bugs me about a lot of pre-op vs post-op pics is that the pre-ops always look sad/grumpy/unhappy.

I know we are unhappy with the hair loss but it really makes the person look much less attractive than when they smile or look up beat. That body language alone is going to make the comparison between the two photos look drastically different.

I think it's misleading to do the pictures like this. In the post-op, they're often bright eyed and smiley. Of course they're going to look more attractive. I find this practice almost deceptive. I wish the pictures would be more consistent. Smile for both or don't smile for both. None of this droopy unhappy person that sends a vibe off in the pre-op and this upbeat person in the post-op. Yeah, it may represent their change in personal confidence and emotions fairly accurately but it's not a consistent comparison geometrically.

08-11-2012, 06:47 PM
Sorry, this is a little off topic but i wanted to mention something else about pre/post op photos i've always pondered. I understand people don't want their faces to be shown online and that's the reason why the majority of a surgeon's work goes unseen. But obviously the pics can be taken in a way that keeps the patient totally anonymous, without even editing the pictures digitally. I have posted many of my own pics on this website from my forehead up exposing my hairline, my donor area and the top of my head, whilst staying completely anonymous.

If an average surgeon is performing a HT daily, then we should be seeing very regular updates of their work. Instead, we just see 1 or 2 posts a month at best, which i'd imagine are always going to be great results. Makes me wonder if patients really do restrict the use of their own pre/post-op pictures, or are the majority of results from reputable HT doctors not really that good.

I mean, out of 100 patients, how many would really object to having their results shown online, if their identity is kept totally anonymous (i.e. pics just show the hairline, or top of the head, crown) ? 20, 30 ? From what i can see, it appears that figure is about 98 patients out of 100. Am i missing something here ? I understand that HT clinics are not going to post 100 results out of 100 cases, but it worries me when you only see 1 or 2 results from the top docs every couple of months.

08-11-2012, 08:18 PM
I've never had an HT in my life, so maybe you won't take my post serious.

Here goes: It's what hair loss does to people. I guarantee you, actually i'd bet everything I own on it, you can't find ONE picture of me smiling or looking "upbeat" since my hairloss started.

I can definitely relate to these guys in pre-op pics you're talking about. I would not be smiling either. Couple hair loss with the fact that you're spending thousands of dollars, and you don't even know what's ahead of you, you don't even know if it will be worth it or if you will like the HT.

There's just nothing be happy about or "smile" about. Also, i've never been one to put up a fake smile. I'm not gonna pretend i'm happy when i'm not.

08-11-2012, 08:22 PM
And yes, in the post op, after i've had regrowth, and am living a better life, having more fun, being more confident, of course i'm gonna have reasons to smile again.

I don't really know what you're asking? Are you telling people to always be happy, even when you're not, just pretend you're happy for the camera? If I ever get an HT any time soon, you're damn right i'm gonna look like a sad motherf-cker in my pre-op pictures.

08-12-2012, 02:44 AM
I'm saying why not have them have the same look on their face for both pictures. Why can't you just do a neutral look? Psychologically, I understand what the different looks represent but I find the pictures to be inconsistent objectively because their faces are in different positions. I think consistency should be the focus rather than try to put an emotional twist on it. I want to see facts, not someone trying to alter facts by involving emotions.

08-12-2012, 07:10 PM
Because they know soon the'll be smiling permently in the form of a big scar on the back of their head. :eek:

08-12-2012, 07:33 PM
ThinningB420, you're very perceptive and this is an interesting topic. I strongly believe that the answer to your question comes down to advertisement and marketing. Like any other product or procedure, we're being sold a bill of goods with regards to a hair transplant. And I'm sure that the people who attempt to sell us this bill of goods want us to believe that the patient's hair transplant transformed them from an unhappy, miserable person into a vibrant, happy person. I see the same type of thing on TV commercials for everything from weight loss supplements to penis enlargement pills to wigs. The person or entity who is selling us a particular product or procedure wants us to believe that if we get the product or procedure, we too will be transformed into once-depressed, but now happy people that we see in the advertisement. And that will hopefully generate more money for the person or entity selling the product or procedure. To me, it's simply Marketing 101 and a matter of dollars and cents.

08-16-2012, 03:04 AM
Ha ha, I was actually talking to Dr Wong about this before my HT. I said (jokingly) "I suppose I should look miserable in these shots and delighted in my "after" ones?"
He spent the rest of the time trying to coax a smile out of me for the photos, which is no easy task since I'm a naturally miserable so and so at the best of times!
I don't think there's any "Quick! Everyone look miserable!" pre-op conspiracy.
It's true though, people tend to look a bit down in their "before" shots, I've noticed it myself.

08-16-2012, 04:49 AM
I think it's natural.

08-16-2012, 07:34 AM
Consider for a moment when before photos are taken. In my case, ten years ago, it was 6:15 a.m. I was in a foreign country and I didn't sleep worth a damn the night before. I had had two failed surgeries 9 years prior when I was a kid of 22 years of age and the result was years of scorn, finger pointing, low self esteem and misery aling with two dinor scars. I was about to give it a third shot with a doctor I had never actually met and to top it off I hadn't had any coffee. There really isn't much to smile about and in fact I wanted to throw up and run out the door so I could check myself into a mental institution for even considering a third go at it.

In my after photos I was smiling because I was happy to be back in the clinic that transformed my life ten months before. When you consider the circumstances of the situation it kind of makes sense.

08-16-2012, 08:00 AM
I understand the scenarios surrounding the pictures. I understand the emotions behind them. I've already mentioned that a couple of times in this thread. However, take a consistent picture to make the highlight of the results based on the hair, not how one feels.

I'm looking for objectivity, not subjectivity of feelings. Maybe HT doctors are more focused on selling how a HT will MAKE you feel because that's what most potential patients are concerned about. I, on the other hand, am concerned about consistent, objective results.

So like I said, you don't have to smile for the pre-op. I can understand that. Don't smile for the post-op either. That way, I can more objectively analyze the results since the pictures are taken in a consistent manner. I think doctors should be happy they are helping people feel better about themselves. However, I also think they should be concerned with technical results and show things objectively in order to continually improve in their craft and peel all of the layers of the onion to show prospective patients what factual physical difference can be made to the hair. All the other emotional stuff is subjective and cannot be accomplished merely by hair transplants. Happiness has to come from within an individual.

08-16-2012, 08:46 AM
I think hair transplant pre-op pictures are kind of funny. The guys always look miserable, but I don't think it is done purposely. If you already feel uncomfortable enough with yourself to have surgery to fix your looks, then it's going to show in the before picture. If youíre happy with the result of the surgery , youíre going to look thrilled.

What always cracks me up is the before and after of women who have cosmetic surgery. The before pictures are always without makeup and the after have a full face of makeup. Now thatís deceptive!

08-16-2012, 10:30 AM

You sound like the US government when stating the new post - 9/11 guidelines for taking passport photos, no smiling:)

I have an idea. If you want to keep the result as isolated as possible from any sort of emotional influence you can simply take a piece of 8.5x11 paper, place it over the image of the patient for both the before and after, from the eyeballs down, leaving only the eyebrow on up visible for a true comparison.

However, I think you should consider something even more important and that is how the photos are taken. Are the before photos wet and the after photos dry? Are the before photos taken without a flash and the after photos taken with flash? Did you know that if a hairline pic is taken without flash before and with flash after it can literally DOUBLE the perceived density of the final result? These are tricks used by clinics that have a hell of a lot more influence on how the result looks than by someone smiling or not. Just something to consider but again, to alleviate the smiling issue, just cover it up from the eyes down. Problem solved.

08-16-2012, 11:49 AM
Ha, I actually did think about mentioning passport rules about smiling in order to look more recognizable.

Yes, the paper thing is a good idea. I just don't think people should have to take that step.

Yes, I know all too well how wetness and lighting can affect density appearance. Those don't bug me as much because they aren't trying to push that a HT will MAKE me happy. I do think they are more dishonest and I write them off right away.

Call me Joe Friday.

"Just the facts, maa'm"

08-16-2012, 01:51 PM
It's because hairloss makes anyone sad and even embarrassed! :o