Tips for Reading Plastic Surgery Reviews

Submitted by Dr. Joyesh Raj on Tue 02/26/2019 - 09:00

If you have decided to have plastic surgery, one of the resources that you might use to find a qualified surgeon is patient reviews published on websites like Yelp, RealSelf and Google.

Dr. Joyesh Raj encourages you to use caution when reading through online reviews. Read on as he shares his best tips for properly navigating these reviews and finding the right surgeon for your needs.

Take Them with a Grain of Salt

As with everything on the Internet, you should take patient-written reviews with a grain of salt. The anonymity of some patient review platforms makes it easy for anyone to leave a review (even someone who did not have surgery with a particular doctor). Some reviewers use these platforms to seek revenge against a doctor or push a particular agenda instead of sharing knowledge and personal experience that could help fellow patients.

A study from Northwestern Medicine looked at over 1,000 RealSelf, Yelp and Google reviews of doctors who performed breast augmentation. The study discovered that reviews tend to be very polarized and some are written by people that consulted with a doctor but did not have surgery.

According to senior study author Dr. John Kim, a plastic surgeon and professor at Northwestern Medicine, “We found that the people who write these reviews are either very happy or unhappy, so it’s difficult for the consumer to get balanced information.”

The Rating Is Less Important than the Review Itself

A doctor’s average rating is less important than the content of the reviews. A single one-star rating can drag down an otherwise excellent doctor’s overall rating. Sometimes patients give a great doctor just one star because of outside factors — for example, they couldn’t find a good parking spot around the office, or the staff could not schedule them for a same-day appointment.

Think about What Matters to You

Think about the things that are important to you in a plastic surgeon and look for reviews that provide clues about those elements. Are you focused on the level of care the surgeon provides, and less concerned about appointment times and office parking? Disregard reviews that are seemingly hung up on inconsequential details.

Online Reviews Should Not Overshadow Someone’s Qualifications

Ultimately it is a doctor’s qualifications and experience that will affect your outcomes — not the number of positive reviews they have. Do not let a strong online review presence distract from a lack of credentials or experience. You could risk overlooking an experienced, qualified surgeon only because they have a small number of reviews.

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