Should You Use Social Media for Cosmetic Surgery Research? Thoughts From an LA Plastic Surgeon

Should You Use Social Media for Cosmetic Surgery Research? Thoughts From an LA Plastic Surgeon

It’s no secret that the pervasive use of social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook motivates both women and men to pursue cosmetic treatments. What is less well known, however, is the increasing use of these sites by plastic surgeons to communicate directly with potential patients through testimonials, educational videos, and before-and-after photos. Plastic surgery practices in Los Angeles and other cities are among the leaders in this type of outreach.

Whether someone is seeking the best plastic surgeon in L.A. for breast augmentation or looking for highly trained providers for nonsurgical treatments, social media platforms are increasingly influential in a patient’s selection of a surgeon.

The Influence of Online Research by Patients

Someone starting from scratch searching for a plastic surgeon most likely uses Google to narrow their choices. A 2019 study published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery showed that Google was by far the most popular way to begin their search. (Sites where patients post reviews and ratings, such as RealSelf, Vitals, and HealthGrades, were a distant second place.) Those Google searches typically lead people to a practice website, which the study showed exerts more influence on a patient’s choice than any other online platform.

Social media, however, is changing the game. As the researchers wrote, “Those considering surgical or non-invasive procedures are three times more likely to select social media platforms as the most influential online method in selecting a surgeon and five times more likely to follow a plastic surgeon on social media.”

It’s easy to see why social media is becoming more popular with individuals considering cosmetic surgery or nonsurgical treatments. Platforms such as Instagram and, increasingly, Tik Tok provide an “up close and personal” look at plastic surgeons, members of their staff, and the practices’ environment in an interactive way that is an extension of their websites.

Plastic Surgeons’ Use of Social Media

It didn’t take long for plastic surgeons to recognize the value of connecting with patients through social media. Used in ethical and appropriate ways, the platforms benefit both patients and the surgeons, whose expanded online presence helps them become more prominent on Google. Whether highlighting a new procedure, educating patients about treatments, or featuring the actual results of cosmetic surgery in a way that’s more personal than before-and-after photos, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other platforms offer surgeons a unique way of interacting with patients.

That’s especially true of brief videos. These videos can help patients feel confident even before they arrive for their consultations by introducing office staff or providing a 360-degree view of the practice space.

Most influential online methods for selecting a surgeon

Is Social Media a Good Way to Choose a Plastic Surgeon?

Think of Instagram or Facebook accounts as another tool for evaluating if a plastic surgeon is the right one for you. No matter how engaging a surgeon appears, you should first ensure that they are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. It’s also important to visit reputable, third-party review sites to read what previous patients have said about their experiences with the surgeon. And check out the surgeon’s training and experience, especially with the procedure you’re interested in getting.

With all that said, social media offers valuable, unique information. You can get a sense of the atmosphere at the practice and the surgeon’s personality. I often post short videos with my past patients that demonstrate the results and explain the techniques I used during the procedure. This can be especially effective when patients return several months or a year after the procedure, which showcases results in a way that many before-and-after photos can’t duplicate because they’re taken a short time after surgery.

Going Inside the OR

Surgeons also use social media to provide virtual access to the operating room during a procedure. The public wants to see what plastic surgeons do, but it’s essential that surgeons do this in an appropriate way. One of our missions as plastic surgeons is to be as transparent and informative as possible and educate our social media followers about surgery and having realistic expectations.

A Glimpse Behind the Curtain

Finally, social media gives patients a chance to learn about the surgeons themselves. Posts reflecting surgeons’ hobbies, where they travel, what type of family activities they enjoy, and other appropriate personal insights give patients a clear perception of who a surgeon is by the time they show up for a consultation.

I invite you to follow our practice on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube to learn more about Stoker Plastic Surgery and my wonderful team. If you’re looking in Los Angeles for a plastic surgeon, you can request a consultation using the online form or give us a call at (310) 300-1779 to schedule an appointment.

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