Woman faces forward; doctor pulls the skin on face
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Cosmetic Surgery: Before and After

Cosmetic surgery once may have been just for the rich and famous, but not anymore. Every year, more than a million Americans visit a surgeon hoping to get a flatter tummy, a larger bust, or a reshaped nose or chin. Learn about the most popular requests in the slides ahead and see the results in undoctored pictures that meet WebMD's editorial standards.

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Before and After Nose Job Surgery
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Nose Job: Before and After

The nose job, or rhinoplasty, is one of the most common cosmetic procedures. A skilled doctor can reshape noses that seem too big or wide for the face, that have a bump on the bridge or that are crooked or off-center, either naturally or from injury. This is one surgery that is popular with teenagers, but doctors suggest waiting until at least age 15 or 16, possibly older for boys. Major problems after surgery are rare, and recovery takes one to three weeks.

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Before and After Blepharoplasty
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Eyelid Surgery: Before and After

Eyelid surgery, also called blepharoplasty, can help a variety of concerns, from droopy upper lids to bags beneath. Excess skin and fat are removed to create tighter, smoother eyelids. Fat may be transferred from one spot to another to reduce bags or puffiness. Healing takes about 2 weeks, and there are rarely noticeable scars.   

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Before and After Neck Lift Surgery
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Neck Lift: Before and After

The late screenwriter Nora Ephron titled her memoir I Feel Bad About My Neck. If that hits a nerve, a neck lift may be the answer. Loose bands of tissue or "turkey wattle" are caused by weakened neck muscles. A surgeon can correct this problem by adjusting and tightening muscles in the neck, and taking out fat. A neck lift is often done with a facelift. As with any surgery, there is a small chance of infection. Healing takes from two weeks to several months.

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Before and After Face Lift Surgery
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Facelift: Before and After

The facelift creates a smoother, more youthful face. Starting around the ear, a surgeon removes excess skin and works with deeper layers of skin and muscle to tighten the face. While rare, there’s a chance of infection and injury. Facelifts are no longer one of the Top 5 cosmetic surgeries. They're losing ground to easier options, such as injectable fillers, Botox, radiofrequency tightening, or laser therapies.

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Before and After Laser Resurfacing
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Laser Skin Resurfacing: Before and After

Laser skin resurfacing uses beams of light to get rid of damaged skin cells. As the outer layers of skin are removed, fine lines and blemishes disappear. Laser resurfacing works well on sun-damaged skin and acne scars, as seen here but it is best used on lighter skin types. Depending on the type of laser used, healing takes one to two weeks for the face and longer for non-facial areas.

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Before and After Hair Transplant
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Hair Transplant: Before and After

Half of men and many women will lose some hair as they age. Typically, it remains thick on the side or back of the head. This allows a surgeon to transfer small amounts to the bald or thinning area, where it takes root. Today's hair transplants are nothing like the "doll plug" look of decades past. Hundreds of "micrografts," each containing one to three hairs, are put in a natural pattern.

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Before and After Arm Lift Surgery
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Arm Lift: Before and After

Keeping the triceps toned is a challenge as we age, especially for women. When we lose the battle, the result may be "chicken wings" -- extra skin and fat dangling from the upper arms. Surgery known as brachioplasty can fix this. It tightens the under-portion of the arm between the armpit and elbow by removing excess skin and fat. It will leave a scar on the inner-back-side of the arm.

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Before and After Liposuction
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Liposuction: Before and After

Liposuction is one of the most common types of cosmetic surgery. Using suction, the surgeon removes small bulges of fat from the tummy, thighs, hips, or behind. The result is a smoother shape in the treated area. Liposuction works best for patients of average or slightly above-average weight. The chances of problems are small, but they include infection, uneven fat removal, or changed skin color.

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Before and After Tummy Tuck
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Tummy Tuck: Before and After

Unlike liposuction, a tummy tuck is major surgery. Also called abdominoplasty, the procedure removes fat and tightens muscles in the belly. The operation can take several hours and usually leaves a long scar. A tummy tuck is not recommended for people who are still planning to lose a lot of weight or for women who may become pregnant.

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Before and  After Breast Implants
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Breast Implants: Before and After

Breast enlargement is one of the two most common forms of cosmetic surgery in women. (The other is liposuction.) For breast enhancement, the doctor makes a cut in the armpit, areola, or lower breast fold and puts in saline or silicone gel implants -- the patient chooses the size. The surgery has relatively few risks, although it may make breastfeeding more difficult.

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Before and After Breast Reduction
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Breast Reduction: Before and After

It's common for women to seek larger breasts, but breast reduction is also popular. Fat, tissue, and skin are removed to achieve the desired size. This can relieve neck and back pain in women with large, heavy breasts. Problems that could happen include a change or loss of feeling in the nipple and problems  breastfeeding.

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Doctor Looking at Woman's Face
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Choosing a Surgeon

If you decide to have cosmetic surgery, it's important to have realistic expectations and a surgeon you trust. Ask whether your doctor  is “board certified” in cosmetic surgery, which means they have extra training and testing. You also should ask for references of people who have had the surgery you're considering. Make sure the doctor fully explains all risks and benefits. Most important, tell your surgeon exactly what you hope to accomplish.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 02/10/2021 Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on February 10, 2021


WebMD's before and after pictures come from reputable physicians and medical text books with the full consent of each patient. Photographs have not been altered or enhanced in any way, except to crop them to fit our space or for modesty. Each set shows the same person. No doctor can guarantee the same results because cosmetic surgery produces a unique outcome for each individual.


(1) Stockbyte
(2-5) Courtesy of Doctor Steven Denenberg, facialsurgery.com
(6-7) "Color Atlas of Cosmetic Dermatology"; Marc R. Avram, Sandy Tsao, Zeina Tannous, Mathew M. Avram; Copyright 2007 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
(8) Courtesy of Doctor Geoffrey Leber, bevhillsdoc.com
(9) Courtesy of Doctor Thomas E. Young, youngmedicalspa.com
(10) Courtesy of Doctor Ryan Khosravi, aestheticprofessional.com
(11-12) Courtesy of Doctor Geoffrey Leber, bevhillsdoc.com
(13) Creatas


American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
American Society of Plastic Surgeons
International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery
The Nemours Foundation

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on February 10, 2021

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.