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Medical Tourism: The Reality of Fake Facial Plastic Surgery Reviews

by | Jan 18, 2019 | Blog, Facelift

Today’s marvellous global marketplace combined with the Internet makes it easy to purchase almost anything via computer. If you’re like most consumers, much of your decision-making is based on online reviews. Recent surveys here and in the US indicate 70-80% of online consumers look at reviews before making their purchase, according to a report published by ABC Radio Brisbane. This is true for both products and services, including the things we offer here at our facial plastic surgery practice.

Unfortunately, something else is also true: 15% of online reviews are fake, according to research conducted by the consumer protection group Choice. “This is especially disturbing when it comes to people recommending facial plastic surgeons and procedures in other parts of the world,” says Dr Marcells.

Muddying the Review Pool

Amazon can rely on complex algorithms to identify fake reviews, but before the company can remove them, they’ve often swayed the opinion of tens of thousands of people. Nor does this apply exclusively to positive reviews. Adrian Camilleri, a consumer psychologist at RMIT, told ABC, “It’s a real concern as these reviews are often written to…be hostile against another company.”

The main problem with online reviews and recommendations is the lack of transparency. “You don’t know anything about the person writing the review and whether s/he is being compensated for the endorsement,” says Dr Marcells.

How to Spot Fakes

Marketing experts say anyone can learn to spot a fake. Use your mental magnifying glass to closely examine factors such as:

  • A Tsunami of Praise – Real reviews are posted in real time. If you see a landslide of positive reviews all posted on or around the same date, they may be fake. “The exception, of course, would be for a brand new practice,” says Dr Marcells.
  • If It Talks Like a ‘Bot – Fake reviews may be posted by people who don’t know the product or even by computer ‘bots. Weird, inexplicable language errors (rather than common misspellings) should raise flags.
  • Inspect the Source – You can often click on a reviewer’s picture to find out more about her/him. Do they love everything? Hate everything? They may have an ulterior motive for their posts.
  • Stock Photo Scam – Fake reviewers, particularly those who are writing about facial plastic surgery, want to look good. They steal photos from stock image houses and other people’s websites and post it as their own avatar. Google’s reverse image search will help you confirm that you’re looking at an original, not a fake.
  • Actually a Patient? – A 2018 study on happy and unhappy breast surgery patients compared reviews on Google, Yelp and RealSelf, found “online consumer reviews of plastic surgeons tend to be polarized, and some come from people who consulted with the doctor but never had surgery.”
  • Use an Expert – If you’re using Yelp or Amazon for your research, can help. Upload the page you’re reading and they provide an “adjusted rating” which has removed all suspicious reviews.

Beyond the reviews themselves, there’s another trick for finding your golden needle in the review haystack. If a facial plastic surgeon has a high average rating with patients, take a look at how many people have actually left reviews. “A 5-star rating from a single patient isn’t much to go on,” says Dr Marcells.

Facial Plastic Surgery Reviews, Pictures & More

We invite you to consult with Dr Marcells at practice in Edgecliff. You can talk to our team, look at before-and-after pictures, and read the reviews of our growing list of satisfied patients. Please reach us by phone or our online form and give us the opportunity to serve you.

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Meet Dr Marcells

Past President – Australasian Academy of Facial Plastic Surgeons

Dr George Marcells is known for excellence in facial plastic surgery and is considered a true master of rhinoplasty. He performs advanced surgical techniques to restore balance and harmony to the face and can also resolve functional issues such as breathing difficulties.

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