The amount of cosmetic plastic surgery information on the internet is truly astounding; equally astounding is the amount of false and just plain wrong information. I have written about differences in medical information in the past:

Differences in plastic surgeon opinion

Every day I have patients come in to my plastic surgery practice for a cosmetic consultation. Most have done research on the internet before coming in. Often, I am one of several  cosmetic plastic surgeons they are visiting—a practice I particularly encourage. The problems occur when patients have done “research” on the internet and come to the plastic surgeon’s office not informed, but rather hopelessly confused.  The worst cases occur when cosmetic patients come to the consultation having consulted with Dr. Google and then actually say that based on their research, this or that surgery is what they want and this is the way to perform it! This actually happens!

Sources of medical information

There are a number of reliable sources of medical information on the web. Some of these are actually sites I refer to myself when I need to get information about topics outside of my specialty. I use them as a sort of medical encyclopedia or memory aid. These sites are maintained by government departments like the CDC or NIH and can be relied on for at least a relatively correct answer to medical questions.

Here are a few of the better medical information web sites:

Websites run by plastic surgeons 

Websites promoting cosmetic plastic surgeons are a good source of medical information if taken with the caveat that they are espousing a particular technique or method of  practicing plastic surgery. If the plastic surgeon has bought a new machine they need to pay off, the website may make all sorts of fantastic claims about this “new” technology. Another reputable plastic surgeon may give you a less biased consultation!

Remember that cosmetic plastic surgeons have a wide array of training and experience, and even those trained in the same residency programs will have different approaches and techniques they prefer for different surgeries. There is no one way to perform surgery or practice medicine! 

Medical information from technology/drug companies 

When anyone is trying to sell you anything, you should have your guard up! Drug companies and medical technology companies have significant  economic incentives to give favorable reviews of their products, and the claims they make are at times amazing and… complete rubbish. Their incentives are purely commercial, and mixing that with medicine always leads to bad medical care—especially in plastic surgery. In fact, did you know that other than New Zealand, the USA is the only other country in the world that allows direct marketing of drugs to consumers? 

Blogs run by non-specialist doctors and lay people

As comforting as these blogs may seem in terms of “the girl next door’s cosmetic plastic surgery experience,” they are only one experience out of thousands of possible outcomes and possibilities that can occur after a cosmetic plastic surgery. One patient’s experience, though possibly similar, will not be the same as another patient’s. Patient’s bodies, frames, healing process and scarring potential are all different. Don’t pay too much attention to one patient’s experiences—yours will be different. 

The best place for cosmetic plastic surgery information

By far the best place to go for cosmetic plastic surgery information is to a cosmetic plastic surgeon at a consultation. In fact, you should see several plastic surgeons to get an overview of the different techniques and possible results before making your choice of surgeon. The feeling of the quality of your skin, its elasticity, color, thickness, amount, etc., all make a difference to your surgical results. No amount of reading plastic surgery information will be better than that.

Morad Tavallali, M.D., FACS