Some plastic surgeons spend a lot of money to place ads on billboards and in magazines, hoping to drum up more business for themselves—but according to a new study, patients are far less interested in flashy advertising than they are in personal recommendations and surgeon experience. The study’s authors, who are based in the Netherlands, drew this conclusion after interviewing 150 Dutch patients who said they were interested in undergoing cosmetic plastic surgery. The patients were presented with eighteen different scenarios, and in each one they were asked to rank their preferences about cost, travel time, surgeon experience, clinic size, method of referral, and website appearance. Overall, the patients said that surgeon experience was the number one most important deciding factor for them.
The participants said that how they found out about the surgeon was the next-most important factor, with referrals from other doctors being their most preferred method of discovery. Referral by a friend or family member also ranked high. Interestingly, the patients disliked TV, radio, magazine, and online referrals—the majority said they would actually be less likely to choose a plastic surgeon introduced to them via those methods.
With all the dubious clinics out there these days—places advertising plastic surgery procedures that they aren’t even necessarily qualified to perform—it’s nice to see a study like this, which confirms what I already know: patients are smart. Advertising campaigns and promotional discounts may be eye-catching, but ultimately most people out there understand that a plastic surgeon’s experience and patient satisfaction rate are what really counts.
As a plastic surgeon with more than 20 years of experience and a number of testimonials from very happy patients, I may fit your criteria. If you’d like to learn more, contact the San Francisco Plastic Surgery & Laser Center, and ask for a free consultation with Dr. Usha Rajagopal!