Cindy Wu, MD, assistant professor in the division of plastic and reconstructive surgery, set out to quantify the anecdotal information she was receiving from her patients. What she found in the course of her study – the results of which were published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal – surprised her.
Wu and her fellow authors compared the preferences of patients seeking information on three common aesthetic procedures: breast augmentation, face lift, and combination facelift and abdominal surgery. Since aesthetic procedures are usually elective in nature, Wu knew that patients were shopping around and weighing their options before choosing a surgeon. The study was set up to measure which factors were most influential in a patient’s ultimate decision: before-and-after photographs, patient testimonials, pricing information, and physician information, such as years in practice, educational information, credentials, etc.
“The industry understanding, for example, is that breast augmentation patients – who are generally younger – are very price conscious,” Wu said. “We also know from clinical experience that facelift patients – who tend to be older women – valued testimonials from friends, neighbors, or family members.”
The results of the study, however, upended those assumptions.
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