The Internet (or “Dr. Google” as I like to refer to it) is rife with myths and mistruths regarding the world of Plastic Surgeon. As a physician, I see it as my responsibility to educate you about the truths behind my profession so that you can make an educated decision about what you may or may not want to do. So where do these myths come from? Many of these fallacies are simply misunderstandings while some are outright mistruths. Thankfully, some of these are becoming less common as patients, such as yourself, discover sources of information that are accurate and written by experienced practitioners whose aim is to educate and not necessarily market a specific product or procedure within their practice.
With all of this information readily available, how do you determine which information is accurate and which is not?
First, always identify the source of the information as well as their training and background. Is the author a medical professional or do they simply present a viewpoint with potentially no experience in this area? If the author is not a medical professional, do they quote one physician or do they rely on the expertise of several? Many, but not all, articles that rely on a single physician are often PR pieces meant to promote this individual physician and little more. Is this always the case? No. But the simple fact is that many of them are. In this case, Google the information and check other sources and see if they support this one physician’s viewpoint. If they don’t, it either means that this physician is way ahead of the curve and truly has groundbreaking information that no one else has or that this person has paid for this piece as a form of marketing and little else.
Next, if the article is written by a medical professional, check out their background training and credentials. Are they Board Certified in their specialty or did they recently begin practicing this specialty with little to no training. Unfortunately, this last scenario is becoming more common as Plastic Surgery procedures are being performed by medical professionals from outside the Core Aesthetic Circle (Plastic Surgery, Facial Plastic Surgery, Oculoplastic Surgery, and Dermatology). In this case, the sad thing is that much of this information is not only misleading but also can be potentially dangerous.
A good example of this is the debate that Awake Anesthesia (or MAC/IV Sedation) is safer then General Anesthesia. I recently posted information on this on the BEAUTY by BUFORD blog to educate consumers about this mistruth. The simple fact is that many of the same people promoting this form of anesthesia do so because they have not undergone formal Plastic Surgery training and so cannot obtain surgical privileges in a hospital or surgery center and so must perform these procedures in an office setting where they do not have access to General Anesthesia.
Another example is the suggestion that the trans-umbilical breast augmentation (TUBA procedure) is a more desirable option than the standard approaches (IMF/axillary/peri-areolar). This is simply not the case. While the TUBA breast augmentation approach does avoid a breast scar, it is essentially a blind procedure that places the implant in a less desirable plane (above the muscle). In addition, since most women will eventually undergo at least one revision following breast augmentation, this approach is not realistic since revision cannot be adequately performed through this initial incision and will require conversion to either a peri-areolar or IMF incision (which should have been performed in the first place) down the road.
Finally, go with your gut. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I have seen procedures touted through the Internet and various TV shows (which will remain unnamed) which claim to deliver amazing results with little to no downtime. The pure and simple fact is that most procedures are associated with some degree of tissue damage and will require downtime. One exception is the facial injectables that can often be performed with almost no downtime. But these are a true exception. If someone claims that you can undergo a major procedure on your lunch hour and go back to work, ask to not only see results but also speak with clients who have undergone the procedure. Be inquisitive! Remember, this is your body and it usually takes far more effort to fix a bad result than it does to undergo the right procedure by the right physician the first time around. In conclusion, three tips to choosing good Plastic Surgery information are:
- Always know the background and credentials of anyone who is authoring an article
- Be wary of single-sourced articles
- Go with your gut
This is by no means a complete list but should simply be seen as a starting point. Remember, there is a ton of information available but not necessarily a ton of good information. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Please feel free to post below or contact me personally at [email protected] Thanks again for your continued support.