Online review sites exist to make sure that any person seeking a service is getting the best they possibly can. From restaurants to hair salons, to doctors, users can quickly find information and details of why they should or should not use the services offered. While these sites can help people make important decisions, reviewing medical professionals, such as plastic surgeons, is not the same as rating a restaurant.
Why should online ratings not be trusted for plastic surgeons?
Many of the services that people review are cut and dry. A restaurant either has an attentive staff and the proper ambiance or they don't. A hotel has a great location or it doesn't. Home services were performed properly or they weren't. The human body provides none of these black and white scenarios. When looking for a cosmetic surgeon, a person's age, medical condition, and other factors will have a huge influence in ways that do not exist for other services.
Some review sites do not allow a patient to really find out what makes their plastic surgeon stand out from the rest. A patient's general satisfaction will not let others know if the surgeon is board-certified, their hospital affiliations, their safety record, examples of their procedures, or whether they would be a good fit for that particular person.
Other sites do allow for a more detailed look at a surgeons credentials, but often ask a patient to review the medical office and associated staff, rather than their actual experience with the doctor. Not only is there little correlation between how much a person likes their cosmetic surgeon's office and the level of service and care they provide before, during, and after the procedure, but there is no way to confirm that the reviews were left by actual patients. Reviews can easily be left by rival offices or angry patients who were told a procedure would not have been in their best interests.
With online review sites, there is no way to confirm that a reviewer is who they say they are. These sites can provide an overall, broad, and vague look at the surgeon, but cannot replace the importance of an initial consultation before ruling out a plastic surgeon. When appearance is at stake, using the best judgment and consulting with a board-certified plastic surgeon should be the way to go.