The Internet has easily become the world’s library. Only a report released earlier this summer in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery—Global Open® reminds us we shouldn’t believe everything we read, even on the web.
The official open-access medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Global Open has stated that consumers using the Internet to research liposuction are getting less than quality information. The report specifically cites lack of information on procedural risks and noticeably low quality or missing information on alleged professional plastic surgery websites.
What you learn when you google “Liposuction”
The study used popular search engines to see what the user typically found when entering unique but relevant keywords for liposuction. After excluding irrelevant and duplicates, the study uncovered close to 250 websites. The researchers then deployed a range of assessments to determine both the completeness and quality of each site’s information. While somewhere in the vicinity of 30 percent of the sites earned high scores, final results revealed “substantial shortcomings” in quality online information. This was especially disheartening considering almost three-fourths of the poorly reviewed sites were developed by plastic surgeons and plastic surgery practices offering liposuction services. Many of these sites made no mention of risks.
Sites with high scores tended to be not-for-profit enterprises such as portals, patient groups, academic centers, health departments and professional societies.
Learn about liposuction from an experienced plastic surgeon
Liposuction is known to be a generally safe procedure when performed by a licensed professional, but there are risks, including infection, fluid accumulation and fat embolisms. By law, patients have to receive literature about the dangers associated with liposuction. There are no laws that say this has to be done before agreeing to a procedure. This is a loophole many on the Internet seem to be taking advantage of.
Noted female plastic surgeon of New York City, Dr. B. Aviva Preminger, believes quality information benefits patients and surgeons. Often, patients show up with their Internet information, believing they know everything they need to. Dr. Preminger now has to correct or supply procedural, quantitative and qualitative information, both benefits and risks, about liposuction.
Like the study, Dr. Preminger stresses the relative safety of liposuction but believes everyone has to know what to expect. She reminds anyone who is considering have the procedure, “Liposuction is a wonderful solution for removing stubborn fat deposits in the body. However, patients need to make sure they know exactly what the procedure entails, and have a one-on-one consultation with a licensed practitioner who has a history and education in liposuction.”