Patient’s Reviews – How Accurate Are They Really?

Cosmetic surgery reviews

If you have ever considered getting some Cosmetic Surgery such as breast augmentation, you have probably been online to do some research on Plastic Surgeons writes Dr Isolde Hertess from Cairns Plastic Surgery and Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) member.

A recent review showed that an increasing number of people check online reviews when selecting a Plastic Surgeon.  People today are turning to online forums, message boards and patient reviews as an important source of information for making decisions.  More often than not, these online reviews have replaced personal recommendations from family and friends.  Many people prefer the anonymity of researching online as they prefer not to expose themselves to what can be a judgmental world.  Consequently, negative online reviews can have a significant impact on a surgeon’s reputation.

Don’t always believe what you read…

While there is some value in online reviews, take care to keep in mind that they are not always factual.  Not everything you see online is genuine feedback from personal experience.

  • Businesses have been known to post fake reviews either positive or negative to boost their business.  It is an increasing online trend that is difficult to control.
  • Patients may occasionally write negative reviews as a way of punishing their surgeon because, in their mind, the surgeon failed to meet their expectations.
  • Most negative reviews are a result of real medical complications that are a known risk of surgery.  Remember that nearly every Plastic Surgeon has some negative reviews.  Like hotels, restaurants or any customer service experience, people are much quicker to voice their negativity rather than take the time to provide positive feedback.
  • Even when a patient does take the time to provide positive feedback, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)  guidelines for advertising actually prevents a surgeon from sharing a positive review on their website which is why it can often seem that there are more negative reviews than positive! 

Do your research…

Plastic surgery, like any type of medical procedure, can have known risks or unexpected complications.

You can reduce your risk of complications by making sure you do your research and carefully select a doctor that is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon with years of experience.

A qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeon has had extensive surgical education and training including a minimum of 12 years of medical and surgical education, with at least five years of specialist postgraduate training in a large teaching hospital.

There are three things to look for when selecting your doctor:

  1. FRACS (Fellow of The Royal Australian College of Surgeons). You can confirm if your doctor is a qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeon by taking note of the letters after their name.  The letters FRACS (plastic and reconstructive) indicates that your doctor is a commonwealth accredited plastic surgeon who has been trained by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and undergone four or more years of additional specialist training in plastic surgery.
  2. In Australia, it is a legal requirement for any medical practitioner to be registered with AHPRA.  On AHPRAʼs website, you can check that they are a registered medical practitioner and that they have recognised specialist qualifications.  You can also check if there are any restrictions on their scope of practice.
  3. All our members are FRACS and regularly attend conferences and workshops to ensure their skills and knowledge remain at the forefront of their speciality.



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