Instagram has become a very popular social media platform in the plastic surgery world. There are many patients now using it to find their plastic surgeon or before and afters of procedures. It is a valuable to tool for education of patients if used appropriately.
A recent study published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal reviewed Plastic Surgery related Instagram posts. The American study looked at data from almost 2 million posts using 21 cosmetic surgery related hashtags. The results of the study showed that only 17.8% of the top posts were from board certified plastic surgeons.
What does it mean to be board certified? In American, plastic surgeons undergo specialist training and examinations to become board certified. They are also elected to memberships of societies such as ISAPS, ASPS and ASAPS. In the UK, there is a similar system where plastic surgeons should have completed the FRCS (Plast) examination and certified by having their name on the GMC specialist register for plastic surgery. Membership to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) and British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) are the UK equivalent societies.
I have found Instagram to be a very useful tool for patient education. The variety of differing before and after results of patients highlights the fact that each individual is different. The use of the photos also helps patients understand the differences in breast implant shapes and sizes.
The study highlights that when using social media platforms, such as Instagram, patients should do their research about who the surgeon is and their credentials. If you are considering cosmetic surgery in the UK then you should check the qualifications of your surgeon. The surgeon should be on the General Medical Council Specialist Register for Plastic Surgery. They should also be a member of the highly regarded plastic surgery associations such as BAAPS, BAPRAS, ASPS or ISAPS.