HealthDay News — Among physicians posting top plastic surgery-related content to Instagram, plastic surgeons eligible for membership in the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery are underrepresented, according to a study published online in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal.

Robert G. Dorfman, from Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, and colleagues explored the role of Instagram in plastic surgery by querying 21 Instagram plastic surgery-related hashtags. The authors used content analysis to qualitatively assess each of the 9 top posts associated with each hashtag.

The researchers identified 1,789,270 posts that used the 21 hashtags. Of the 163 top posts included in the study, plastic surgeons eligible for membership in the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery accounted for 17.8% of top posts; noneligible physicians accounted for 26.4%. Nonplastic surgery-trained physicians marketed themselves as “cosmetic surgeons.”

Nonphysicians (dentists, spas with no associated physician, and a hair salon) posted 9 of the top posts. Overall, most posts were self-promotional rather than educational (67.1 vs 32.9%, respectively). Compared with nonplastic surgeons, board-certified plastic surgeons were significantly more likely to post educational content to Instagram (62.1 vs 38.1%).

“It is critical that board-certified plastic surgeons use social media like Instagram as a platform to educate patients about the risks of surgery and dangers of having plastic surgery performed by those with improper training,” the authors write.

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Reference

Dorfman RG, Vaca EE, Mahmood E, Fine NA, Schierle CF. Plastic surgery-related hashtag utilization on Instagram: implications for education and marketing [published online August 30, 2017]. Aesthetic Surgery Journal. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjx120