NEW RESEARCH HAS revealed that Instagram has become the leading destination for people looking for information about plastic surgery, however the vast majority of the posts don’t come from certified doctors.
Less than 18% of plastic surgery-related Instagram posts in the United States and Canada come from board-certified plastic surgeons.
The study analysed a sample of more than 1.7 million Instagram posts that were uploaded on January 9 this year.
Each post contained at least one of 21 plastic surgery-related hashtags such as #plasticsurgery, #plasticsurgeon, #breastlift or #nosejob.
“The confusing marketing on social media is putting people at risk,” said senior study author Dr. Clark Schierle.
There have been many recent reports of patient harm and deaths resulting from inexperienced providers offering services outside of their area of expertise.
The research notes that the ads particularly affect young people, who increasingly want to improve their appearance for social media, but often do not understand who is qualified to perform procedures.
The phenomenon isn’t confined to plastic surgeons. In an even more concerning development hair salons, dentists, barbers and spas with no associated physician are also marketing plastic surgery procedures on Instagram.
“This is a very scary finding,” said one of the research team, Robert Dorfman.
Providers are doing procedures for which they do not have formal or extensive training. That’s extremely dangerous for the patient.
“A cosmetic surgeon is not necessarily the same thing as a board certified plastic surgeon, and patients need to be made aware of this,” Dorfman added.
A board-certified plastic surgeon is a doctor with more than six years of surgical training and experience and at least three years specifically in plastic surgery.
The paper was published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal.