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Online Aesthetic Reviews: Trustworthy or Trash-worthy?

by | Dec 6, 2019 | Blog

Dr George Marcells has a sterling reputation as a master of rhinoplasty, earned over decades of service to his patients. He is understandably proud of that reputation and pleased when patients take the time to post online regarding their honest experience at our Bondi Junction practice. Sadly, there is a veritable cottage industry of frauds, fakes, and unscrupulous individuals whose reviews are anything but honest.

How 75% of Facial Plastic Surgery Patients Use Online Reviews

Online reviews can be an outstanding resource when you’re choosing a facial plastic surgeon or other aesthetic service provider. In the article How Reliable Are Online Reviews for Plastic Surgery, researchers reported:

  • 75% of patients use online reviews as their first step in choosing a doctor
  • 20% of patients validate a personal referral using online reviews

Prospective patients feel reviews provide access to honest opinions on topics they care the most about:

  • Doctors – skill, experience, bedside manner
  • Procedures – benefits, downtime, aftercare
  • Office staff – efficiency, friendliness
  • Hospitals, surgical centres, and medical spas – cleanliness, equipment/personnel on hand
  • Cost (Although cost is a consideration for patients, the price of surgery “doesn’t seem to impact patient satisfaction” says the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Fake Out: Online Reviews Filled with Bluff & Nonsense

“Online reviews developed out of a lack of available and transparent information about choosing doctors are dangerous,” reports the ASPS. As the popularity of online reviews grew, so did an interest in corrupting their use for personal gain. Driven by greed and trying to steer patients to a specific provider, marketers often pay individuals to write glowing reviews about doctors they’ve never met and procedures they’ve never had.

In other cases, patients who are habitually dissatisfied with their appearance (body dysmorphia) post negative reviews that reflect their emotional distress rather than a true assessment of their provider. “Unhappy patients take up more screen ‘real estate’ than happy patients, posting longer reviews, which creates a bias of dissatisfaction in online ratings,” says Rob Dorfman in Don’t Trust Yelp Reviews for Plastic Surgeons. Dorfman is the author of a study of 1,077 reviews across review sites including RealSelf, Yelp, and Google.

Disgruntled employees can be another source of sour reviews, as can competitors. Even reputation management companies get in on the game, posting negative reviews to create a need for their services with doctors whose ratings they tank.

Vetting Online Reviews: 6 Tips for Patients

“You should not trust online reviews – at least not all of them,” warns Forbes Magazine. Dr Marcells agrees. That’s why you should:

  • Use review verification services like Fakespot or ReviewMeta
  • Question any product/service/provider that has nothing but 5-star reviews
  • Beware of blocks of reviews posted on the same day
  • Don’t trust an offer that is identical to other offers in every way, but with a price that is 50% or lower than average
  • Click each reviewer’s profile and other reviews to see if they always love a product, hate it, or do anything else suspicious
  • Run a reverse image source to see if the reviewer is using a stock photo or picture from someone else’s blog

We invite you to do all these things before your schedule a consultation with Dr Marcells. We think you’ll like what you read about our practice and we are certain you’ll have a great experience with us.

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Meet Dr Marcells

MBBS (Syd), FRACS (ORL-HNS)
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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