Haute Beauty Experts Share The Advantages Of Social Media

social mediaPhoto Credit: ShutterstockIt's no question that a major source we get our plastic surgery info comes from Tik Tok videos or Instagram posts. There’s a continuous trending discussion on social media about plastic surgery. Haute Beauty sat down with Haute Beauty experts to discuss the advantages or disadvantages of social media platforms. Here's what they had to say:

Dr. Samuel Lin | Nose | Boston

Natalie Hassell contributed to this response.
With over 9 billion views under #plasticsurgery, the catalog of plastic surgery content on TikTok is broad. Some of TikTok’s top creators have documented their recovery process from plastic surgery for millions of followers. TikTok content created by plastic surgeons includes both playful videos, such as showing creative ways to pop a breast implant, and educational videos, which teach the TikTok audience about plastic surgery or debunk viral trends.

Social media platforms such as TikTok can be powerful, advantageous tools for plastic surgeons to educate the public about the field of plastic surgery. The visual, viral nature of social media is well suited for plastic surgeons to share their work and to reach a wide audience. Still, great care needs to be taken to ensure that content shared on social media is educational rather than self-promotional. The conversation on TikTok regarding plastic surgery involves many voices, with board-certified plastic surgeons producing only a small portion of the content. With this in mind, plastic surgeons should use their social media to serve as educators, not only entertainers. Additionally, given the young age of the TikTok audience, plastic surgeons must ensure the content they share is suitable for a wide range of viewers. When used thoughtfully and responsibly, social media platforms such as TikTok give plastic surgeons the ability to share their work and knowledge with a broad audience and to serve as a key voice in the ongoing online discussion about plastic surgery.

For more information, visit Dr. Lin's website, Instagram, or Facebook!

Dr. Anh-Tuan Truong, Chicago Breast & Body Aesthetics | Breast | Chicago

Social Media has been a huge contribution to the exposure and growth of our practice. Media outlets like Instagram, Facebook, and Tik Tok have allowed us to reach new audiences and engage with our followers on a more personal level that just isn't possible through traditional mass media channels. Social Media has also been a great way to showcase what we do in a much more engaging way. More importantly, our followers get to know our doctors and staff through our videos and posts so that by the time they come in for their live consultations, many have said they feel like they already know us. This helps create a rapport with the patient even before they walk through the door and a level of comfort that cannot be replicated through other forms of media.

For more information, visit Chicago Breast & Body Aesthetics website, Instagramor Facebook!

Dr. Viraj J. Mehta | Eyelid Surgery, Oculoplastic | DMV

As an Oculofacial Plastics surgeon, people are always asking me to see photos from before and after surgery. I think social media platforms for any facial plastics specialty are an advantageous and beneficial addition. Facial plastic surgery is an art as much as it is a science, and social media platforms are just another vehicle to share our work. People want to see how surgeries turn out, and platforms like Instagram, Tik Tok, and Facebook provide a venue for us to share our outcomes with potential patients. But we do have to be careful as we can't forget about the science and medicine behind the surgeries. It's important for patients to realize that not all outcomes are guaranteed as each person is very unique and there is no cookie-cutter surgery in our field. Social media platforms will evolve, and perhaps in the future, there will be something else, but people will always want to see how we do our surgeries and how patients look afterward!

For more information, visit Dr. Mehta's website or Instagram!

Dr. Daisy Ayim | Body | Houston

Social media is a great marketing tool for cosmetic surgery and doesn’t necessarily decimate factual information all the time. It has truly made cosmetic surgery acceptable for anyone and not taboo to talk about what is done openly. Literally, anything goes on these social media platforms and that by itself is worrisome too. There is no filter on truth or lies which makes it incredibly unique. Overall, I feel social media is advantageous because it is now the new word of mouth. My practice utilizes social media and navigating it responsibly to be mindful of our mission which is sustainable cosmetic surgery outcomes. We incorporate the personal pursuit of good nutrition and exercise as integral components in our cosmetic service. So we engage on these social media platforms to drive in our message which is so valuable.

For more information, visit Dr. Ayim's website, Instagram, or Facebook!

Dr. Gabrielle Davis | Breast | Los Angeles

I think that social media platforms are advantageous in all industries for advertising to broad and diverse audiences. Particularly in plastic surgery, it is a manner in which a plastic surgeon can demonstrate all of the procedures that they offer, broadcast informational videos as well as a display before and after photos. It is also a way in which plastic surgeons can show their personalities to prospective patients to develop a rapport. The downside of social media is that there is very little regulation, and therefore it is hard for patients to differentiate between true information and outcomes versus false advertising. Overall, I think that social media is a great marketing tool and therefore has been considered advantageous to my practice. However, I do advise all patients that they should always do their research and use all avenues for verification before deciding on any surgical procedure.

For more information, visit Dr. Davis' website, Instagram, or Facebook!

Dr. Jhonny Salomon | Face, Nose | Miami/Fort Lauderdale

I think media platforms are advantageous and are a great way to showcase your practice and allow the world to see your company’s culture and aesthetic sensibilities. It also allows you to connect directly with your patients and further develop doctor-patient trust.

Your social media posts need to be chosen very carefully so that they are in line with your brand identity. You need to use your post to build your company's brand and not take away from it.

For more information, visit Dr. Salomon's website, Instagram, or Facebook!

Dr. Daniel Careaga, Careaga Plastic Surgery | Body | Miami/Fort Lauderdale

There is not a single industry that has not been impacted by the development of social media over the last 15 years. This holds particularly true for plastic surgery which is such a visual field. Social media has the potential to be incredibly helpful and informative to potential patients as well as dangerous and unethical, it all depends on its use. Social media has become the new "credentialing" for plastic surgeons in which the more followers a surgeon has, the more experience they must have in the eyes of the public. This can lead to patients being misled and choosing a non-plastic surgeon to perform their surgery. Professional board-certified plastic surgeons use social media platforms to educate patients on the field of plastic surgery. They will address different topics of interest in the field and explain them in ways most people can understand. A gallery of unaltered before and after pictures that are taken long after the surgery has been completed allows patients to see what is realistic based on their body type and goals. Videos should be educational and highlight the experience and training of the surgeons in the practice. Unfortunately, many surgeons use social media to trivialize the field of plastic surgery, focusing on lifestyle, cost-based advertising, and showing edited or oiled-up immediate post-operative photographs that are misleading. This has become especially true for gluteal procedures which have exploded in popularity over the last decade but are also the most dangerous performed by plastic surgeons. Patients should utilize the different social media platforms to familiarize themselves with a surgeon's work but it should not replace them doing their due diligence. Choosing a plastic surgeon is a very important decision and should not be made based on advertising alone. Before a consultation, patients should make sure their surgeon is a board-certified plastic surgeon or facial plastic surgeon, ensure their license is free of any disciplinary action by checking their state medical board, search their malpractice history and finally look at the overall trend of their reviews. The consultation is the most important part of the process because it is in that meeting that a patient needs to ask themselves the following question: "do I trust this person with my life and my body?" The answer needs to be a resounding yes and should not be based on cost or marketing gimmicks.

For more information, visit Careaga Plastic Surgery's website, Instagram, or Facebook!

Dr. Kiran Gill | Body | Naples

Social media platforms have both advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, they provide an opportunity for patients and doctors to share stories, experiences, and photos to educate and inspire. On the other hand, these platforms can also be used to sensationalize plastic surgery, promote unrealistic beauty standards, and foster expectations that are not grounded in reality. Social media is likely here to stay, so it’s important to keep a healthy, realistic perspective. When in doubt, consider the source. Board-certified plastic surgeons hold much more clout than anyone else: celeb, influencer, friend, or follower.

For more information, visit Dr. Gill's website, Instagram, or Facebook!

Dr. Jason Bloom | Face | Pennsylvania

I do think social media platforms have been advantageous to my practice. The social media platform that I use the most is Instagram. I have both my own account (@drjbloom) that I run and manage myself and also an account for my office (@bloom.facial.plastics) that is run by my social media manager. My @drjbloom account is uniquely me and I have fun mixing patient's before & after photos with pictures of my family, my sneaker collection, and academic things that I do.

The use of before & after photos for social media marketing has always been an important part of my practice marketing plan. I space the before and afters out every few days with other more personal or academic posts. Finally, patients do send me a lot of selfies of their before and after pictures and I always ask the patients if I have their permission to share the pictures on social media, and oftentimes I will send their posts that I prepare to get their approval. It is interesting because some patients have already been sharing selfies, TikToks, or videos on their social media accounts, so those are usually patients who would be willing to allow you to use their photos.

I get many inquiries for surgery and injectable procedures to my office from social media. It is easy for prospective patients to see examples of the surgeries that they may be interested in on my accounts and they will often highlight or bring in pictures of their favorite posts that I make to show me results that they liked. I try to use my social media accounts to give patients an idea of the variety of surgeries and variations of those surgeries that I am comfortable with.

Finally, by the time patients come into the office for a consultation, they feel like they “know me” because they can sense my personality and the vibe in the office from my social media accounts. All of these things provide patients with trust when they come into my office and a sense of comfort that they are in a great practice environment with an excellent doctor.

For more information, visit Dr. Bloom's website, Instagram, or Facebook!

Dr. Algie LaBrasca | Body | Pennsylvania

On the surface, plastic surgery and social media fit together like peanut butter and jelly. Patients can look through before and after pictures and watch videos on different procedures to learn. They can also search different surgeons, including what they look like, how they speak, their online personality, look at reviews, etc.

The downside of plastic surgery and social media comes from when patients look at celebrities and influencers and try to compare themselves to these people. Most of these accounts have heavy use of professional photographers, expert hair and makeup, as well as photoshop and other post-production editing. Regular people don’t have access to these things, and so will never look like these influencers, sometimes leading to unrealistic expectations.

As long as the patient and surgeon have clear expectations of what can and cannot be done, social media can be extremely powerful in a plastic surgery practice when guidelines are implemented and followed.

For more information, visit Dr. LaBrasca's website, Instagram, or Facebook!

Dr. P. Daniel Ward | Face | Salt Lake City UT

Without question, social media has changed plastic surgery and the marketing that we do. In some ways, it has been good, but in other ways, I think that it has brought up some very serious issues.

I love how social media has helped me be able to better educate my patients about the services that I provide. There has never been an avenue such as social media that allows for such free and available exchange of information. In addition, social media has been a tremendous boost to marketing. It has given all of us—those of us in the core aesthetics medical specialties (facial plastic surgery, plastic surgery, oculoplastic surgery, and dermatology) and those who are not in the core specialties—better and easier access to marketing. It gives us a megaphone to educate our patients and potential patients.

A big concern that many of us in the aesthetics industry has come from the fact that the consumer is often unable to determine the quality of the service, the risks of the procedure, or the training or background of the surgeon advertising the service. In other words, patients are being given information that could be fake, false, or just plain dangerous, and they have no way of verifying it. Traditionally, the medical boards helped regulate this issue. Now, I am not sure how there would be enough resources to provide the proper oversight. In addition to the large influx of doctors in the aesthetic space, there are PAs, nurses, and nurse practitioners (who often refer to themselves as doctors due to having a doctorate of nurse practitioner degree), which makes the task even more daunting.

In order to provide proper consumer guidance and safety, I think that the core medical aesthetic specialties will need to work together to create a framework for state and national agencies.

For more information, visit Dr. Ward's website, Instagram, or Facebook!