Variations in pose, expression, illumination, aging and disguise are considered as major challenges in face recognition and several techniques have been proposed to address these challenges. Plastic surgery, on the other hand, is considered as an arduous research issue; however, it has not yet been studied either theoretically or experimentally. This paper focuses on analyzing the effect of plastic surgery in face recognition algorithms. The preliminary study provides an experimental and analytical comparison of face recognition algorithms on a plastic surgery database of 506 individuals. The experimental results indicate that existing face recognition algorithms perform poorly when matching pre and post surgery face images. The results also suggest that it is imperative for future face recognition systems to be able to address this important issue and hence there is a need for more research in this important area. © 2009 IEEE.