Beware of Plastic Surgeons on Instagram

Instagram is not only for people that want to post selfies. A number of plastic surgeons advertise their work on the popular social media site.

Yet selecting the plastic surgeon to perform work through Instagram may include serious risk if the surgeon does not have board certification, according to a study just published Wednesday by the Aesthetic Surgery Journal.

Just 17.8% of Instagram posts related to plastic surgery in the U.S. and Canada may be from plastic surgeons that are board certified showed the study, which analyzed the posts taken from one day during January.

Most of the posts on that day were from physicians and non-trained plastic surgeons or professionals who did not even have physician licenses, like dentists or aestheticians from spas, said the author of the study Dr. Clark Schierle.

The study’s author said that finding a surgeon through Instagram might not necessarily be a problem, adding that his practice itself accounts on the site and other sites focusing on social media.

Instead, a problem in public health could arise when professionals who are not certified market procedures that are invasive on the social media site and potential patients might not verify the person marketing the procedures is board certified for that particular surgery.

Schierle said that there has been reports of terrible incidents that have taken place associated with surgery that was performed in less than the safest possible manner.

As for on Instagram, some of the doctors practice outside the scope of their practice and some are non-physicians that are doing some very crazy things, such as injecting silicone building material that was purchased at Home Depot into the bodies of their patients, said Schierle.

Today with social media and Internet, these people hold more voice and more of an opportunity to transmit than before.

He added that social media has taken it all to another level.

The study published Wednesday involved over 1 million posts on Instagram uploaded on January 9 this year. Each post included at least one of over 21 different hashtags related to plastic surgery like #plasticsurgeon, # plasticsurgery or #breastlift.

On Instagram the hashtags help categorize and aggregate uploaded videos or photos that fall into categories with similar content.

Among hashtags in this study, use of colloquial or terminology considered layperson for cosmetic procedures seemed to be far more popular that using technical terminology, said the study’s author.

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