There is an overwhelming amount of medical information available to the general public. Some information may be scientifically sound; other information may be incomplete, misrepresented, or based on opinion. It is important to become educated by credible sources and then verify the information through an expert in the field-your facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon.
Education is important. The more you learn about the various options or a particular surgery, the better your patient experience. Studies have shown that patients, who fully understand the preoperative steps, procedure, and postoperative recovery with realistic expectations, experience less anxiety, fewer complications, and faster healing times.
Check your resources
Where are you finding your information? Articles published in peer-reviewed journals are a respected, primary source since the content is current and has been reviewed by a panel of experts. If you need assistance in understanding the article (e.g., detailed study about a technique), do not hesitate to bring it to your next appointment. Your doctor will explain the data, results, and conclusions.
The Internet provides a wealth of information; however, you must be vigilant in checking the sponsorship of a Web site to establish its reputability.
The following online sources should be reliable:
- government agencies (ending in .gov),
- nonprofit organizations (ending in .org),
- medical specialty groups (ending in .edu or .org),
- and university medical centers (ending in .edu).
Commercial Web sites (ending in .com) may have valuable information, but many are also trying to sell you something. Also, check to see when the Web page was last updated.
Avoid consulting discussion boards and blogs for medical advice. These snippets of information are largely based on personal experience and opinion-not fact.
Information that is published in newspapers, magazines, or featured on the television should be scrutinized carefully. Are the reports citing a physician or are they just creating a lot of hype over preliminary findings? It is best to check another source-facial plastic surgeon, journal, or organization-to evaluate it further. Always be wary of claims of a “miracle treatment” or “age-defying cure.”
Trust your face to a facial plastic surgeon
Bring the information you have read and collected to your consultation appointment. This is a great time for your doctor to review the information, answer your questions, and explain a treatment or procedure in detail. Your facial plastic surgeon will also be able to explain how the various articles or medical studies may or may not apply to your situation specifically.
Gather information freely, but cautiously. You cannot believe everything you hear or read, be sure to get educated from trustworthy sources. When it is regarding your health and appearance, trust your face to a facial plastic surgeon.