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Are You Playing “Google Roulette” With Your Plastic Surgeon?

If you are like many people who Google everything that comes into your life, you may be one of the people who is looking for a plastic surgeon who is playing “Google roulette” with your plastic surgeon. While I myself go to Google and to the Internet to find out more information on almost every topic, on the other hand I do not allow that information to make decisions for me, as I am well aware that when it comes to choosing someone for a serious issue such as surgery on your body, representing you in court, or finding a good accountant, then I recognize that information on the internet about these services is just that. It is just some type of information, whereas there is a whole lot more that actually should go into your selection of these services.

The unfortunate truth is that internet websites contain erroneous information. As a member of the ethics committee for the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, I did a survey on the number of plastic surgery websites that contain the terms “World Famous”, “Internationally Recognized”, or other such claims to national/international recognition. Interestingly almost 80% of all websites of plastic surgeons contain such references and yet I can assure you that 80% of all plastic surgeons are not nationally or internationally recognized for their work. Those surgeons who are internationally recognized will be asked to lecture and speak. I emphasize the word “asked”. A surgeon who submits a paper to a meeting at a foreign location and has that paper accepted is not being “asked” to lecture at that meeting. He is simply having his presentation accepted for the audience. It does not mean he is nationally or internationally recognized. It simply means that the reviewers for the meeting found his material interesting and thought that it would be helpful to the content of the meeting. Surgeons who are “asked” to speak at national or international meetings are those that are truly recognized on that level. There are actually very few surgeons who are recognized as such, quite likely less than 100 plastic surgeons worldwide.

In addition, I also did a review of a website to see how many websites contained awards that are not actual awards. For example, there is an award called the Patient’s Choice Award. I myself received in the mail an offer to be a Patient’s Choice Award recipient. However, when I inquired as to what organization was offering this award and what information it was based on, I ran into a dead end, since there was no organization and there were no patient’s actually voting on this choice. As it turns out, someone was willing to sell me this award for the cost of the plaque to hang on my wall. This is a classic example of a fake award. If you go onto plastic surgeons websites and you see this award, then you will know that that particular surgeon is dealing in fake awards, all for the purpose of trying to attract you into their office.

Therefore, playing Google roulette with your plastic surgeon can actually be dangerous, since this can lead you to a person who is not what they claim to be and thus may or may not have the experience and capabilities they claim on their website. In addition, as I have said in other blogs, reviews are also suspect, since they can be faked, family members can post reviews, employees can post reviews, and reviews can also be bought, although this is considered unethical by national societies. Unfortunately, though, it is done.

In addition, negative reviews can also be unreliable, since those people who post negative reviews are actually more likely to post and many times these reviews are simply based on someone being dissatisfied with someone in the office or the way they were treated by an office staff member and may or may not have any bearing on the ability of the surgeon. In addition, the opinion of the patient as to the outcome may or may not have any accurate information as to what really happened.

For example, a few years ago I had a patient present to me very upset after having a rhinoplasty at another city in Alabama. She was upset because the end of her nose had died and I was shocked after routine rhinoplasty that the tip of someone’s nose would not survive. I happened to know the surgeon who had performed the rhinoplasty. I knew him to be an excellent surgeon and actually one of the few members of the American Association of Plastic Surgery in Alabama and no one can be admitted to the association unless they are an exceptional surgeon and this is a peer-reviewed award. I therefore delved into the patient’s history only to find that she was an extreme smoker and that her smoking was so incessant after surgery, even with the surgeon’s warning, that she essentially shut down the blood supply to the tip of her nose. If this patient had posted a review saying that the tip of her nose had died after a rhinoplasty, most readers of that review would be horrified, but they would not see the actual story that went on behind the scenes and the surgeon would have been unnecessarily defamed.

So, how do you find a plastic surgeon? As I have said in numerous previous posts. Go first based on the training, not only the board certifications, but also the institution that the surgeon trained at, since some institutions are more prestigious than others. Also look into if the surgeon has extra certifications and also the years of experience in practice. While I am not saying do not Google the surgeon and do not check reviews, as some of that information can be helpful as well, what I am saying is do not play Google roulette and believe everything you read both positive and negative about a surgeon. Make an inquiry with your family physician, talk to friends, and then go see the surgeon in person and get a feel for how you interact with them and also review their training and experience. This will give you the very best basis on how to select a surgeon and you will not have to play Google roulette anymore.

Learn more about Dr. Core’s credentials here.



Meet the Doctor
Grady Core, M.D.

"Dr. Core trained in plastic surgery at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic.”
@coreplasticsurgery