Sep 26, 2017

When It Comes to Plastic Surgery, Be Wary of Social Media Ads

It’s not uncommon to see Instagram posts advertising nose reconstruction, breast augmentation, and smaller waistlines in between the scroll of supermodels and photos of friends’ vacations.

But, consumers should be wary of these posts. Many of the ads on social media that are promoting plastic surgery service are not from board-certified plastic surgeons.

According to a study from Northwestern Medicine, some of the top posts on Instagram instead lead consumers to dentists, spas, and hair salons. Going to a provider who is inadequately credentialed could result in an undesired outcome.

A cosmetic surgeon is not necessarily the same thing as a board certified plastic surgeon, and patients need to be made aware of this,” commented Robert Dorfman, the first author of the study and a third-year medical student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

How the study worked:

The researchers looked at 21 hashtags related to plastic surgery, some of which included #plasticsurgery, #breast implant, #liposuction, and #brazilianbuttlift. The combined hashtags researched resulted in nearly 1.8 million posts which were scaled back to the top nine for each hashtag.

Their findings were that the majority of the posts came from foreign surgeons. The next largest number of posts came from doctors who were not recognized as certified in plastic surgery by either the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Among these were dermatologists, gynecologists, and emergency medicine doctors.

Although any licensed medical doctor can legally perform cosmetic surgeries, there is an added risk when a doctor’s level of training does not match the procedure they are offering.

What is even more alarming is that some of these posts were advertised by hair salons, barbers, and spas, with no associated physicians. Only 17.8 percent of the top posts came from board-certified plastic surgeons.

The bottom line:
The The American Board of Plastic Surgery cautions patients to do their homework when looking for a plastic surgeon.

Have questions about why board-certification matters? The doctors at ASA are happy to help, and discuss any questions you may have. Contact us today.