Social Media Ratings of Minimally Invasive Fat Reduction Procedures: Benchmarking Against Traditional Liposuction

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Minimally invasive fat reduction procedures are rapidly growing in popularity.

OBJECTIVE

Evaluate online patient reviews to inform practice management.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Data from RealSelf.com, a popular online aesthetics platform, were reviewed for all minimally invasive fat reduction procedures. Reviews were also aggregated based on the primary method of action (e.g., laser, radiofrequency, ultrasound, etc.) and compared with liposuction. A chi-square test was used to assess for differences with the Marascuilo procedure for pairwise comparisons.

RESULTS

A total of 13 minimally invasive fat reduction procedures were identified encompassing 11,871 total reviews. Liposuction had 4,645 total reviews and a 66% patient satisfaction rate. Minimally invasive fat reduction procedures had 7,170 aggregate reviews and a global patient satisfaction of 58%. Liposuction had statistically significantly higher patient satisfaction than cryolipolysis (55% satisfied, n = 2,707 reviews), laser therapies (61% satisfied, n = 3,565 reviews), and injectables (49% satisfied, n = 319 reviews) (p < .05). Injectables and cryolipolysis had statistically significantly lower patient satisfaction than radiofrequency therapies (63% satisfied, n = 314 reviews) and laser therapies. Ultrasound therapies had 275 reviews and a 73% patient satisfaction rate.

CONCLUSION

A large number of patient reviews suggest that minimally invasive fat reduction procedures have high patient satisfaction, although liposuction still had the highest total patient satisfaction score. However, there are significant pitfalls in interpreting patient reviews, as they do not provide important data such as a patient's medical history or physician experience and skill.

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