A growing trend in cosmetic surgery is the well-informed patient. Due largely to the proliferation of websites offering information on the subject, cosmetic surgery patients are becoming increasingly well-informed about procedures they are interested in—even before they consult a cosmetic surgeon. Due to the nature of the medium, the Internet can offer much more detailed and specific information than the promotional brochures typically found in cosmetic surgeons’ offices.
This trend is beneficial for cosmetic surgeons and patients alike. Doctors generally find educated patients easier to deal with because they have a better understanding of cosmetic surgery procedures, ask more specific and intelligent questions, and are more likely to follow post-surgical instructions. Patients benefit from learning about the most current techniques of surgical enhancement and rejuvenation, as well as from having easy access to the specifics of what to expect from such procedures. They tend to feel less anxious and make more appropriate decisions about their surgery. Perhaps most importantly, patients learn how to find a skilled, qualified cosmetic surgeon in their local area.
One caveat about researching cosmetic surgery (and other medical topics) on the Internet is that not all the information offered on the Web is accurate. Anecdotal reports can be helpful at times, but often are not widely applicable. Don’t assume that one person’s experiences and opinions are necessarily indicative of what you may experience. Be aware of the source of the information, and if in doubt, check it against resources you know to be reliable.
Where can you find accurate, up-to-date cosmetic surgery information on the Internet? In addition to this website, there are numerous resources that provide such information. Following are three excellent sites:
- The American Society of Plastic Surgeons: http://www.plasticsurgery.org/
- The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery: http://www.cosmeticsurgery.org/
- The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery: http://www.surgery.org/
One of the most crucial patient decisions is selecting a cosmetic surgeon to perform the desired procedure(s). Online physician directories are one of the best means of finding a skilled, qualified surgeon in your geographical area. Directories that specialize in cosmetic surgery offer a wealth of resources, including detailed information about specific procedures, message boards, and discussion forums with communications from patients who have already had surgery. Some directories also include photo galleries of before-and-after pictures for various cosmetic procedures, as well as links to individual physicians’ websites.
Overall, the trend toward increased patient self-education in cosmetic surgery is a very beneficial one. When a patient is knowledgeable about the desired procedure(s) prior to the initial consultation, their valuable time with the doctor can be spent expanding on their knowledge rather than covering the basics. Also, well-informed patients typically feel more confident and less anxious throughout their cosmetic surgery experience.