What Is a “Top Doc”?

When you’re choosing a surgeon, awards and accolades may be something that you’re looking for. What you may run into – if you are looking at qualified, well-respected, board-certified plastic surgeons – is a “top doc” or “best of” award. It’s impressive. But what does it tell you?

What’s interesting, and what you should pay attention to when assessing your surgeon’s awards, is who voted on the award. Was it the public (patients) or the surgeon’s peers (other doctors)?

  • Reader-based awards. I’ve been listed among the “best” for San Diego and La Jolla cosmetic surgery in two different publications: La Jolla Light newspaper and the San Diego Union-Tribune. Both of these awards were based on reader polls. That means that the people voting were mostly patients, not my peers. By voting for me, these people indicated that they were happy with their experience at my practice, the way they were treated, and the results that I was able to achieve for them.
  • Peer-reviewed awards. When other medical professionals vote for an award, their voting is based on a surgeon’s reputation within the community and upon any professional interactions they’ve had. True, other doctors may not have the experience of actually undergoing a procedure from the nominated surgeon, but they have more surgery-specific, technical knowledge than the layperson.

I’m not saying that one type of award is better than the other – either way, a “top doc” or “best of” is something any surgeon should be proud of – all I’m saying is that WHO voted for the surgeon can also be revealing.

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