Searching online for information about liposuction? There is a pretty good possibility that what’s available could be “very poor,” according to a study that appears in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery—Global Open, the official journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

In the study using popular web search engines, Dr Adrian Fernando Palma of University Hospital Zurich and colleagues identified 245 websites providing information about liposuction.

The team evaluated the websites using the modified “Ensuring Quality Information for Patients” (EQIP) tool, which provides a standardized assessment of the quality and completeness of Internet health information, explains a media release from Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

The results from their research showed that the websites had “substantial shortcomings” regarding the information that was provided. Only about 30% of the sites had “high scores” on the EQIP, earning at least 18 out of 36 possible points. The median score was 16 out of 36 possible points, with a range of eight to 29 points.

More than three-fourths of the websites developed by plastic surgeons had low EQIP scores regarding quality of information. However, other websites—including those developed by professional societies, portals, patient groups, health departments, and academic centers—scored higher regarding their information quality, according to the release.

Few of the websites provided information about possible risks from the procedure—and surprisingly, per the release, many of the sites developed by plastic surgeons did not mention risks at all.

“Better quality of patient information is needed, especially in terms of the surgical procedure, qualitative and quantitative benefits and risks for the patient, how complications are handled, and what precautions patients can take,” Palma and coauthors conclude in the release.

They also suggest, in the release, that website developers use the EQIP tool to ensure that their websites present good-quality information.

[Source(s): Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Newswise]