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Should surgeons meet patients online?

New York Times, January 21, 2010

On SurgeonHouseCall.com, patients seeking plastic surgery can create a free profile that includes a brief medical history and photographs of the problem area. Plastic surgeons then offer detailed opinions on the best course of action, with price quotes. In less than a year, SurgeonHouseCall.com has recruited 55 plastic surgeons nationwide to offer opinions, the New York Times reports, and dozens of plastic surgeons also offer virtual consultations on their own Web sites. But conservative plastic surgeons say it is fine to send an e-mail message with general information about a range of procedures to a patient, but the practice of offering a diagnosis without ever having met a patient can be problematic.