Plastic Surgery 101

Online reviews are only one tool in choosing a doctor

Q. I’m planning to have surgery with a surgeon whom I met and really liked. My friends told me he was great, and a lot of people have substantiated that. When I started to do research, I did find one or two reviews online that were not flattering. What is your suggestion with this, and should I let him operate on me?

A. Since I do not know him, I cannot tell you to have surgery with him. I can, however, shed light on your situation. Back in ancient time, when I first started practicing, surgeons were picked by what used to be called the three A’s: affability, ability and availability.

Today, people pick their doctors, restaurants, cars and anything else based on online reviews. Often, these online reviews are bought or fudged. Not too long ago, I was solicited by a website that guaranteed me great reviews for $75 a review. I asked them if this was legal, and they said that it was. So like everything, reviews should be taken with a grain of salt.

When choosing your surgeon, online reviews should be used as one piece of the puzzle. There are many patients who have unrealistic expectations and may even have psychological problems. Often, their reviews are unrealistic and spiteful. Because of privacy issues, doctors cannot respond and are left hanging in the air with these reviews.

If you like your surgeon and your friends have substantiated that they liked him and have had good results with him, I would suggest you talk to him. Ask him about these reviews. He is likely to tell you the real story, or at least he can give you his side of the story. Good luck.

Dr. Carlos Wolf is a partner in Miami Plastic Surgery and is board-certified. Email your questions to him at: