Beware online reviews

Dr. Wolf, I’m planning to have surgery with a surgeon that I met and really liked. My friends told me he was great and a lot of people substantiated that. However, when I started to do research, I did find one or two reviews online that were not flattering. What do you think? Should I let him operate on me?

Since I do not know the surgeon, I cannot tell you to have surgery with him. However, I can shed some light on your situation. Back in “ancient time” when I first started practicing, surgeons were chosen using criteria called the three A’s: affability, ability and availability.

Now in modern times, people often pick their doctors, restaurants, cars and many other products and services based on online reviews.

You should know that quite often these online reviews are purchased or distorted. Not long ago, I was solicited by a website that guaranteed me great reviews. I asked if this was legal and they said it was. So, like many things, online reviews should be taken with a grain of salt.

When choosing your surgeon, online reviews should be used only as one piece of the puzzle. There are many patients who have unrealistic expectations and may even have psychological issues. In some cases, reviews may be unrealistic and spiteful. Because of privacy issues, doctors cannot respond to these reviews and are left hanging.

If you like your surgeon, and your friends like him and have had good results, I suggest that you talk further to him. Ask him about these reviews. He is likely to tell you the real story, or at least offer you his side of the story. Good luck.

Dr. Wolf’s office is located at 8940 N. Kendall Dr., Suite 903E. He may be reached at 305-595-2969 or at

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