When faced with attributes like reputation, years in practice, testimonials, photos, and pricing, which is more valuable? Moreover, are attributes procedure-specific? Currently, inadequate evidence exists on which attributes are most important to patients, and to our knowledge, none on procedure-specific preferences.
First, to determine the most important attributes to breast augmentation, combined breast/abdominal surgery, and facelift patients using conjoint analysis. Second, to test the conjoint using an internet crowdsourcing service (Amazon Mechanical Turk [MTurk]).
Anonymous university members were asked, via mass electronic survey, to pick a surgeon for facelift surgery based on five attributes. Attribute importance and preference was calculated. Once pre-tested, the facelift, breast augmentation and combined breast/abdominal surgery surveys were administered worldwide to MTurk.
The university facelift cohort valued testimonials (33.9%) as the most important, followed by photos (31.6%), reputation (18.2%), pricing (14.4%), and practice years (1.9%). MTurk breast augmentation participants valued photos (35.3%), then testimonials (33.9%), reputation (15.7%), pricing (12.2%), and practice years (3%). MTurk combined breast/abdominal surgery and facelift participants valued testimonials (38.3% and 38.1%, respectively), then photos (27.9%, 29.4%), reputation (17.5%, 15.8%), pricing (13.9%, 13.9%), practice years (2.4%, 2.8%).
Breast augmentation patients placed higher importance on photos; combined breast/abdominal surgery and facelift patients valued testimonials. Conjoint analysis has had limited application in plastic surgery. To our knowledge, internet crowdsourcing is a novel participant recruitment method in plastic surgery. Its unique benefits include broad, diverse and anonymous participant pools, low-cost, rapid data collection, and high completion rate.