Is Instagram a Cosmetic Surgeon Directory?

Dec 05

Is Instagram a Cosmetic Surgeon Directory?

It is not a surprise to anyone that social media has become a dominant source in our society.  Over the years it has crept into almost every function of the plastic surgery practice operations.  Many doctors would argue that in an industry where patients mostly pay out of pocket, it is critical that they use every available tool to attract new patients. So, this explains why there are so many plastic surgery/cosmetic surgery options available to anyone looking on Instagram.

Are Cosmetic Surgeon and Plastic Surgeons use Instagram to attract new customers - Angela Chatterfield explains.

Geared towards marketing to the young people who have a desire to improve their appearance on social media channels where many of them create a larger than life image. Think of any imaginable hook and you will find Cosmetic surgeons competing for your attention. Many would make you cringe knowing they are advertisements for medical doctors.  

Study on plastic surgery industry

According to a recent paper published in Aesthetic Surgery Journal, many of these young people do not understand the difference between who was qualified to perform medical procedures and was not. “This is a very scary finding,” said Robert Dorfman. Robert is the first author of the study and a third-year medical student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Providers — ranging from unlicensed physicians in plastic surgery to dentists, hair salon employees, and barbers — are doing procedures for which they do not have formal or extensive training. That’s extremely dangerous for the patient.”  

According to the report, gynecologist and emergency medicine doctors also advertise cosmetic surgery procedure services for which they’re not board certified. The senior study author believes that the confusing marketing puts patients at risk.

Be informed

I find this study to be very credible. The research is sound, and the risks are genuine. What I have seen over the years, is that overall most patients (the majority of whom are women) appear to be less concerned than they are uninformed. Having been in the industry since 1993, I can say first hand that patients have become comfortable with the concept that cosmetic surgery is not a big deal. The introduction of injectables including Botox has helped reduce the fears women once had many years ago concerning cosmetic surgery.  

Is your plastic surgeon certified?

It is essential to understand that any medical doctor in the United States licensed as Physicians and surgeons can call himself a plastic surgeon.Don’t be fooled by the myth if a medical doctor markets himself as a plastic surgeon that he is board certified.The difference is the board certification. Prospective patients should search for certifying boards that are recognized by the American Medical Association. A certifying board indicates that the American Medical Association has vetted the credentials and training of the certifying body and finds it to be credible. There are many certifying boards for cosmetic surgery. These were created to allow medical personnel to utilize certifications to build credibility. The training provided in some of these certifying associations may include only a weekend course. It can be very confusing. As a rule of thumb when it comes to searching for a cosmetic surgeon is best to look at the facts, trust your gut, and use pictures as a guideline not a determining factor in your decisions.  I know this seems contrary to what many others advice.  The truth is, it is challenging to trust pictures.

Final Thoughts:

Make no mistake about it, Instagram, Facebook, or any other social media platform is not a directory and women should not use it as such. If you find the marketing of a particular surgeon to be distasteful, and offensive; then, by all means, you should not agree to have elective surgery with that doctor.  I love the idea that people can share photos, stories, and information with each other socially.  It is vital that we never forget this is the driving purpose of social media.  I have only the same old cliché to use here.  Buyer beware…  should be the caption for every Instagram cosmetic surgeon post.


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Cosmetic Surgeon on Instagram - Directory for Cosmetic and Plastic Surgeons

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