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The “Dr. Google” Rabbit Hole

June 21, 2022 | Bilof's Corner

The “Dr. Google” Rabbit Hole by Dr. Bilof

If you’re like most people, before you make a big decision you check on-line to see what other people have done in your situation. When the decision is a medical decision we have a term in the office for that… consulting ‘Dr. Google’. It’s not a problem necessarily, we all do it and I seriously doubt it will stop anytime soon. There is simply so much information on the internet, how could you not?

The problem isn’t the amount (quantity) of the information, it’s the quality of it. To be sure, there is high quality information but there is also some poor quality as well (otherwise known as the Google Rabbit Hole). So, for example if you start searching under ‘bariatric surgery’ you may end up at WebMD or the Mayo Clinic website or the ASMBS (American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery)… all these sites are fine and will provide a reliable and accurate picture of the risks and benefits of bariatric surgery. On the other hand, you might end up at an on-line forum for bariatric patients.

Unfortunately, these forums attract the most disgruntled patients which gives a very distorted picture of the actual reality. Are there risks with bariatric surgery? Of course there are risks and we will have a full and detailed discussion with you about those risks.

The actual reality, however, is bariatric surgery, when performed by a specialist, is no riskier than having your gallbladder removed. The actual reality is if you are a candidate for bariatric surgery the most effective treatment is bariatric surgery. That does not mean it’s the only treatment or necessarily the treatment for you, but it is simply undeniable that it is the most effective treatment and if Dr. Google hasn’t told you that… you need to get a second opinion!

By Dr. Michael Bilof

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