Thank you for writing and asking this.  You are welcome to fly to Seattle, but I often feel that it’s better to be getting the consults in your area, if that is where you will be doing the surgery.  I/we also refer sometimes to surgeons in L.A., if we need a surgeon with a certain skill set.  If you call our office again, just say you came through SkinTour and are looking for a consult with me.  Our patient service specialists can give you the costs.

Finding someone you trust is getting harder and harder because there’s so much noise on the web, marketing and website are often misleading, and everyone seems to be an expert. 😉


Go first to the section on the clinic does to make sure they are offering services similar to what you want.  Second, go to the “Who we are” page.  Is there a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon leading the group?  If it just says “board-certified,” look further in their bio. Or, you can call the clinic and ask the front desk.  Surprisingly, many front desk people don’t seem to know.   Recently a friend of mine called a clinic, and was scheduled with Dr. “Kate.”  It turned out doctor Kate wasn’t an MD at all.  She was a nurse with a doctorate of nursing.  My friend left without being treated because she felt she had been deliberately misled.

How long has the clinic been in business?  

Try going to the About Us section and see if it mentions it.  Dates of incorporation are the most accurate and can be found in most states by googling that topic which will usually bring up the site to check it.  Dates of incorporation are in the public record.   You want a clinic that’s been in business for at least 5 years.

Online reviews: 

Ok…I/we often joke with patients that we have an ongoing war with Yelp because if a business doesn’t pay them a fee every month, they hide good reviews and promote bad ones.  We think it’s legalized blackmail.  Google reviews are fairer.  But all of them rely on the few people who will go and write reviews, which is a minority.  In a clinic that sees a hundred or more patients a week, anything less than 100 reviews may skew negative.  Some clinics hire “reputation management” companies, which somehow artificially generate positive reviews.  I’m always suspicious when I see 5 stars for anything.  If you have a neighborhood online network, they can be helpful.

Books & Media:  If a doctor has published a book through a regular publishing house that’s a good sign.  Magazine mentions may be helpful.  TV producers will often “vet” their doctors.

Friends and family:   You might try asking people in your circle who look great, in a quiet setting away from others.  If you explain why you are asking, people will often be helpful.

Hope this helps,
Dr. Brandith Irwin
Founder, SkinTour
Director, Madison Skin & Laser Center
Follow my skin tips and travels on Instagram!



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