Despite a plethora of online information about necklifts, there is still room for improvement in quality, readability and technical aspects, according to a critical analysis in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.
For the cross-sectional analysis, a Google search of the term “neck-lift” was conducted and the first 45 websites evaluated. Of the 45 websites, 37 were private websites (including sites created by private practice physicians) and eight were other websites (created by academic medical centers or reference sources).
“Not much was known about the differences between academic and private websites, so in that sense this study is novel,” lead author Hani Rayess, M.D., tells Cosmetic Surgery Times. “I was most surprised by the score on the 'technical' criteria for both academic and private practice websites. There is tremendous room for improvement for both private and academic websites.” The technical scores were 6.3 and 6.4 out of 12 for “other” and “private,” respectively.
In part, the analysis evaluated website design and the ease of navigating the website, “which often results in increased traffic,” says Dr. Rayess, a resident physician in otolaryngology at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, “However, no patient should make a decision to have surgery based on a website alone.”
Website providers should not only include information on the procedure itself, the benefits and alternatives, but should also discuss potential complications, cite sources and demonstrate that their website is updated regularly.
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If a website does not address these concerns, then the patient “should ensure that these questions are answered by their physicians during the face-to-face consultation, prior to proceeding with any procedure,” Dr. Rayess says. And physicians who anticipate and address these questions ahead of time will stand apart.
Other important information to have on a website includes proper qualifications and details about adjunctive treatment to neck lifts, according to Dr. Rayess, such as fat transfer, buccal fat repositioning, deep plane or other submuscular aponeurotic system (SMAS) techniques, as well as laser surgery, to enhance surgical results.
Often, providers who treat the surgery like a “fast-food delivery service” cannot offer such patient-centered results, according to Dr. Rayess.
“Online information is going to play a large role in patient recruitment going forward,” says Dr. Rayess. “Patients need to critically assess online information and ensure that all questions are answered, including risks, benefits and alternatives, prior to proceeding with surgery.”