As a medical student, I worked with Dr. Rifenbery for four weeks this spring. I was able to see first-hand how well his patients were treated from the time of their initial appointment scheduling through their post-op visits. He is a brilliant and extremely skilled surgeon, and he employs equally skilled professional staff who work together to maintain a very high level of professional, compassionate, and confidential treatment of all his patients. He and his staff are warm and friendly to all patients - as you would expect from a surgeon of his caliber.
If you are in the Tacoma area and your physician has recommended surgery for you, I highly suggest you ask for a referral to see Dr. Rifenbery. I also suggest that you disregard strong emotional reviews calling him a butcher, or suggesting his license be revoked. Such negative reviews without facts are not reliable, and could potentially have a negative impact even on your own health.
If you're worried about post-surgical pain, keep in mind that pain is to be expected after surgery, and everyone's response to surgical procedures is different. Pain level and length of recovery can vary greatly from one person to the next. Dr. Rifenbery pays special attention to pain control, and employs special intra-operative anesthetic techniques such as long-lasting nerve blocks for abdominal surgery to further decrease post-op pain, and aid in faster recovery for these patients. At no time would Dr. Rifenbery ever allow you to be in disabling pain, either immediately post-surgery or in the days or weeks following your procedure.
If you want an appointment with him, you must understand that a referral is most likely necessary from your physician, and that your physician must send your medical records directly to Dr. Rifenbery's office. This is done to guarantee that your records and health concerns are legitimately communicated from physician to physician, and to protect your privacy.
Hope this helps you in deciding on Dr. Rifenbery as your surgeon.