Among cosmetic plastic surgeons, social media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linked In and others are the cat’s meow in marketing.
Social media reaches many more people than standard advertising — and the right people, those who are interested in having cosmetic surgery for all the right reasons, to spiff up their appearance and gain more self-confidence.
For instance, Instagram reported it had over 400 million active users upload 80 million pictures per day in 2016.
But how would you feel if you looked at, say, Instagram’s #plasticsurgery (the top cosmetic surgery hashtag,) looked through the posts and found a likely sounding cosmetic surgeon who turned out to be a doctor, but whose total training was in radiology? Or gynecology?
A research team at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago also wondered who was behind the hashtags and identified the top 21 hashtags like #facelift, #rhinoplasty and others.
The researchers wanted to know what content was being posted to Instagram, who posted the content and if it was educational or promotional.
They then found 1,789,270 self-promotional posts using the most popular 21 plastic surgery posts.
The actual meat of the study was in discovering the training and experience of the person offering his or her cosmetic surgery skills via Instagram posts.
So, the researchers selected 163 top posts using the 21 hashtags.
Findings: Plastic surgeons who were qualified to join the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS:) 17.8 percent.
Noneligible physicians accounted for 26.4 percent.
5.5 percent were non-physicians (dentists, spa owners and one hair dressing salon.)
Most Instagram posts (67.1 percent) were self-promotional while only 32.9 percent were educational.
We can imagine what steps you may take if searching for, say, #facelift and find your practitioner working in a hair dressing salon: Those steps would likely lead out the door.
But there are some fairly easy steps to look at a (real) cosmetic plastic surgeon’s training and background.