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Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2015 Apr;39(2):270-7. doi: 10.1007/s00266-015-0454-3. Epub 2015 Feb 20.

The influence of social media and easily accessible online information on the aesthetic plastic surgery practice: literature review and our own experience.

Author information

1
Akademikliniken, Storängsvägen 10, 115 42, Stockholm, Sweden, paolo.montemurro@ak.se.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Patients interested in aesthetic plastic surgery procedures increasingly seek advice on social media and rely on easily accessible online information. The investigatory goal was to determine the impact of this phenomenon on the everyday aesthetic plastic surgery practice.

METHODS AND PATIENTS:

Five hundred consecutive patients completed a questionnaire prior to their consultation with a plastic surgeon at our clinic. A questionnaire was also completed by 128 plastic surgeons practising in 19 different countries. A literature review was performed.

RESULTS:

Almost all patients (95%) used the internet to collect information prior to consultation, for 68% of them it being their first search method. Social media were used by 46% of patients and 40% of these were strongly influenced when choosing a specific doctor. The majority of plastic surgeons (85%) thought the information found on social media could lead to unrealistic expectations. However, 45% of plastic surgeons believed that their consultations became easier after the advent of social media, 29% found them more difficult. A literature review showed a high percentage of poor quality internet websites regarding plastic surgery and an increase in use of social media among plastic surgeons.

CONCLUSION:

The internet and social media play an important and growing role in plastic surgery. This results in more informed patients but may create unrealistic expectations. Even if the internet provides ample information, it cannot replace the face-to-face consultation, which always should remain a detailed process, covering both risks and limitations of alternative procedures. Available literature on how social media influences the medical practice is still scarce and further research is needed.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE IV:

This journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors www.springer.com/00266.

PMID:
25697277
DOI:
10.1007/s00266-015-0454-3
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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