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how to spot a sham plastic surgeon

Summary: It’s pretty easy to spot a sham plastic surgeon if you’re able to do research. Even still, social media has made this task considerably more difficult. That’s especially true since some disreputable (or at least misleading) posts have been spotted on social media website Instagram. That’s why we’re offering you some tips on how to spot a sham plastic surgeon posting.

Dealing With Plastic Surgery Shams

There are quite a few stories out there about disreputable posts on Instagram and other social media. So how can you spot a shame plastic surgeon when these posts come up? It’s not as easy as it might seem. Especially because it’s not as though most social media companies are all that particular about who advertises with them.

To be sure, most social media companies will have strict terms of service about how you represent yourself. And most terms of service agreements require that advertisers, you know, not misrepresent themselves. The problem is that there’s a significant amount gray area—and there’s just so much volume. It’s way too easy for something to slip through the cracks.

That’s why it’s always incumbent on the consumer to go into things with a critical eye—to keep your critical thinking cap on. That’s the best way to spot a sham plastic surgeon. But we can clue you in to a couple more things to keep your eyes on.

Do Your Own Kind of Background Check

Most plastic surgeons are pretty active these days. If you look at Dr. Richard Tholen from Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, you’ll see a great example of this. Dr. Tholen is constantly answering questions on a plastic surgery social media website called We can learn from his example. Indeed, there are plenty of ways you can cross reference the reputation of a surgeon:

  • Checking to see if the surgeon has been interacting with patients on websites such as
  • Checking surgeon reviews across a wide variety of platforms, including Google, Yelp!, Vitals, and Healthgrades. Ideally, you’ll be looking for consistent reviews across all of these platforms. That way you know that no one’s goosing the results!
  • Check before and after images on a surgeon’s websites. Sometimes, surgeons won’t have these images available (for a wide variety of reasons). But good surgeons will always be open to giving you referrals from previous patients.
  • Never commit to anything more than a consultation. After all, a consultation is going to be where you really get a feel for your surgeon, and the work that he or she is going to be able to accomplish. A consultation is also a great time to ask any and all questions you might have.

Always Book Through a Surgeon’s Website or Front Desk

In other words, there’s something to be said for being a particular shopper. This might be kind of a buzzkill. There are plenty of surgeons who advertise having quickly ending sales or discounts. But it’s always in your interest to be slow and deliberate throughout the entire process.

Most reputable surgeons will not engage in deceptive advertising practices (there are all kinds of medical ethical rules to follow). Indeed, most surgeons will let their work speak for themselves, even if they do offer discounts and other incentives. Those discounts tend to be incredibly straightforward, as surgeons tend to favor transparency over everything else.

An unsatisfied customer is not good for anyone.

Getting in Touch Directly With the Surgeon

That’s why you might be able to save yourself a significant number of headaches by booking directly with your surgeon. There are usually several ways to do this:

  • Calling the Front Desk: Most surgeons don’t make a habit of hiding their phone number! That tends to be bad for business. So it’s usually pretty easy to find a phone number and give the front desk a call. This is an excellent way to book your appointment, especially if you’re talking to someone who works directly for the surgeon.
  • Website Contact Forms: Another way to get in touch (easily) with your surgeon is to use their on-site contact forms. These are almost always pretty easy to use and (almost always) go directly to the surgeon’s front desk. This means you can avoid the phone and simply type out what you’re interested in (this is more convenient for some people).
  • Third Party Apps: There are many surgeon websites that feature some kind of third party apps. These are usually designed to facilitate scheduling and so they’re a good way to get in touch with your surgeon. The only trick here is that you want to make sure you’re actually getting in touch with your surgeon and that these third party apps are not directing you away from your desired destination.
  • Use a Critical Mind

    Not every advertisement you see on social media is going to be reputable. Unfortunately, that’s true for advertisements you see about plastic surgery as well. Your best defense is to look every gift horse in the mouth and ensure you’re using a critical mind. Take things slow and do your research—and you should be able to spot a sham plastic surgeon.

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