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Considering Liposuction? Study Shows Google is Not Your Friend

Jacky Gale | September 13, 2016 | Posted in Liposuction

cellulite skin on her legsWhen confronted with a medical issue, including the possibility of plastic surgery, many people do a quick Google search. The Internet is an excellent way to make countless troves of information accessible to billions of people, but when it comes to medical issues, your best source of information is a well-qualified doctor.

That’s the latest advice from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), which recently conducted a study on the credibility of plastic surgery information available on the Web. The study was published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery-Global Open (the official open-access medical journal of the ASPS). Specifically, it involved taking a closer look at the quality of information available on liposuction.

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Troubling results of the study

Dr. Adrian Fernando Palma of University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland, and his colleagues noted in the report that overall, the quality of medical information available online was “very poor.” This conclusion encompasses all types of websites; the quality on the surveyed websites of plastic surgeons was noted to be “disappointing” and low quality.

Specifically, the survey looked at 245 websites that offered information about liposuction. The researchers used the modified EQIP tool (Ensuring Quality Information for Patients) to conduct a standardized assessment of the quality of health information as well as its completeness. To earn high scores with the EQIP tool, websites had to earn at least 18 of 36 possible points. Only 30 percent of websites earned this high score. The median score was 16 and the range was eight to 29.

Almost two-thirds of the websites that were surveyed were developed by plastic surgery practices, plastic surgeons, and other clinics that offered liposuction and fat removal services. Websites developed by professional organizations scored the highest. These included the ASPS website, health departments, academic centers, and patient groups. Of particular concern, according to the researchers, was the scarcity of information on the potential complications of liposuction.

“Better quality of patient information is needed especially in terms of the surgical procedure, qualitative and quantitative benefits and risks for the patient, how complications are handled, and what precautions patients can take,” concluded the report.

Importance of patient consultations

The results of the Internet survey are indeed troubling, but they only reflect part of the issue. The real problem occurs when individuals rely solely on online information to make their healthcare decisions. While the Internet can be useful for getting a general overview of a particular topic, it’s best to consult directly with a healthcare professional.

During a one-on-one consultation with a plastic surgeon, patients will get personalized information and guidance based on their overall health, underlying medical conditions, aesthetic goals, and personal preferences.

At the New York City plastic surgery office of Dr. Thomas Loeb, prospective patients always receive a thorough consult and comprehensive medical review to determine candidacy. Dr. Loeb maintains the highest standards of patient care and safety, and his surgical center is fully accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities.

To request a private consultation for body contouring, please call 212-327-3700.

+ Resources
- Resources
  1. American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Googling ‘Liposuction’? Study Shows Low Quality of Online Information,
  2. National Institutes of Health, How To Evaluate Health Information on the Internet: Questions and Answers,
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