The Impact of Online Ratings and Choosing Your Plastic Surgeon

When I first started my blog I wanted to share my thoughts on all things relating to one of the things I love to do, being a plastic surgeon.  The goal behind my blog is to use it as a haven where I can share information I feel will serve as an added resource for anyone wanting to research cosmetic and reconstructive procedures, popular medical topics or even the latest advancements in technology.  As a board certified cosmetic and reconstructive surgeon I like to make sure my patients are highly informed on all facets of plastic surgery; because in my opinion, you can never have too much information at your fingertips when deciding which breast or body procedure is right for you.

online-ratings (Medium)With the surge of online review sites available on the web today, the ability to complete extensive research isn’t just limited to procedures but extends to surgeons themselves.  For better or worse, online review sites are having a greater impact on how patients research potential surgeons.  From breast augmentation and breast lift to liposuction and mommy makeovers, patients want 100% confidence in their surgeon, regardless if it’s for cosmetic or reconstructive purposes.  Online review sites let you read previous patient’s pre- and post-operative experiences and even view personal before and after images.  Whether you realize it or not, having this extra resource can have a significant impact on your impression of a physician before you’ve even gone into a consultation and met.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) conducted a study on the influence online ratings had when selecting a physician:

  • 59% of patients viewed online rating sites as “somewhat” or “very important” when choosing their surgeon
  • 35% of patients selected a surgeon because of a positive review
  • 37% of patients did not select a surgeon based on a negative review

JAMA’s findings show that majority of patients conducting online research find value in online ratings, so much so that it has either negatively or positively influenced their decision.  A precaution that shouldn’t be ignored is the credibility of the users that leave online reviews.  Negative reviews can have extenuating details that the reviewer may choose not to share and portray a damaging scenario for a surgeon that is subjective rather than objective.  On the other hand, you could argue that a positive review could easily have been written by a family member, employee or friend of the physician to boost their rating.  You can never really know the backstory of a review/reviewer and should therefore evenly weigh the importance you place on online reviews as a helpful factor but not THE main deciding factor.

When doing your research on a surgeon, I always advise patients to spend as much time as necessary before making a decision.  Finding a surgeon who is board certified not only minimizes the inherent risks of surgery but can offer assurances knowing a surgeon has completed the rigorous curriculum required to receive accreditation.  Reviewing before and after results offers a glimpse into a surgeon’s abilities and the type of results you can expect.  Just as an employer probably would not blindly hire an employee without checking references and having an in-person interview, you should handle choosing your surgeon in the same manner.  Feeling comfortable and trusting your surgeon is important and your decision should not be dictated by the opinions of others.  Scheduling a consultation lets you ask any questions that you may have about them, their practice and experience and get an overall feel for who they are not only as a surgeon, but as a person.

If you are interested in a cosmetic or reconstructive procedure or getting to know more about me, please contact us today!  Be sure to also connect with me, Dr. Allyson Maske, on FacebookTwitter, and Google+.