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How Social Media Influences Plastic Surgery

How Social Media Influences Plastic Surgery

Social media gives us the chance to present the best versions of ourselves to the public. So, it’s not surprising that social media affects plastic surgery. Social media channels allow us to see how others look every day, and they can influence us to make changes in our appearance to ‘keep up’ with our peers.

That influence is seen in polls. A recent poll of plastic surgeons in Time magazine found that most surveyed said at least ⅓ of their patients said they wanted surgery to appear more attractive online.

Whether people are having facelifts, brow lifts, or liposuction, it’s undeniable that social media is boosting interest in cosmetic procedures. This article shares information about how social media has influenced my plastic surgery practices in recent years.

Social Media Is All About Selfies

If you have an account on Facebook, Instagram, or Tik Tok, it’s difficult to avoid selfies. Millions of people take their photos on cell phones and share them with followers on social media.

When users post their pictures, it isn’t just showing where they are and what they’re doing — it also shows other people what they look like.

As we browse through our images and see others on social media channels, we might notice we have hollow cheeks, lines on the forehead, or the dreaded ‘crow’s feet’ in the corners of the eyes. Seeing how we look to others on social media may encourage us to have various plastic surgery procedures.

This can be seen in polling on the subject. I recently saw a RealSelf.com poll that showed nearly 50% of respondents were at least ‘somewhat influenced’ by social media when they decided to have a cosmetic procedure. So social media appearances are driving people’s interest in plastic surgery.

Another factor in people taking selfies and posting them online is the advance of image filters on sites such as Instagram. For example, users can alter their images with image filters on Instagram based on their favorite celebrity’s appearance.

Then, they drive to their board-certified plastic surgeon with their Instagram-altered images. This shows the surgeon how they want to look. I’ve seen patients do this in my practice.

While it’s helpful to know the patient’s goals, it’s up to us as plastic surgeons to keep their expectations in line with reality. What an Instagram filter does isn’t always possible in plastic surgery.

Sharing on Social Media

People share their lives on social media and present the best versions of themselves, and this applies to medical and cosmetic procedures. For instance, many Instagram celebrities post before and after photos when they have a facelift, Botox, or another procedure.

And people often mention that they are going to have a procedure; it’s no longer something that people feel ashamed of. Instead, plastic surgery has gone mainstream, and social media is helping make that happen. When people rave about their results online, it makes other people want to have cosmetic surgery.

Celebrities Leverage Social Media

Celebrities often use social media to increase their influence and presence in the country. One of the ways they do so is by sharing about their beauty treatments and cosmetic procedures. For example, one of the Kardashians may post images on Instagram about a new lipstick.

Next, they’ll make a post talking about how she just had lip fillers done. They are leveraging social media to tell the world about their procedures and products.

When celebrities promote plastic surgery on social media, there’s no doubt it drives interest in the industry. Every month, I see many patients talk about how a celebrity they saw on social media had a procedure with fantastic results, and now they want it, too.

Checking Surgeon Reviews and Feedback

Another effect of social media I’ve seen in my practice is how patients find their surgeons. Online reviews are critical for surgeons who want to expand their business. Patients can put positive or negative reviews on Yelp, Google, Reviews, Healthgrades, Facebook, etc.

It’s never been easier to find a skilled plastic surgeon by reading online reviews. However, a surgeon may sometimes get an occasional negative review. But it’s not the end of the world; you cannot please every patient after all.

The key to a negative social media review is to follow up immediately with the patient and address their concerns. You might not make every patient happy, but you can show others that you did your best.

Social Media Has Staying Power

Social media has revolutionized how patients learn about and experience plastic surgery. They’re more willing to undergo procedures, share about them online, and find medical professionals with social media channels. As a result, social media has become a permanent part of the plastic surgery landscape.

Of course, it’s possible to take social media too far; patients shouldn’t consider procedures because social media influencers had them. Plastic surgery should always be the individual’s decision. After all, it’s your body, and no one’s opinion about how to change it is more important than yours.

More About the Practice

Dr. Otto Placik is a board-certified plastic surgeon with offices in downtown Chicago and Arlington Heights, Illinois. He earned his medical degree from Northwestern University and completed general and plastic surgery residencies at Northwestern.

He also completed a fellowship in the aesthetic reconstruction of complex nasal and facial deformities at St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago.

Dr. Placik cares deeply about his patients and strives to provide outstanding surgical results. You can learn more about the practice by visiting Dr. Otto J. Placik Plastic Surgery in Chicago online.


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by Dr. Otto Placik // Dr. Otto Placik is a board-certified plastic surgeon with offices in downtown Chicago and Arlington Heights, Illinois. After earning his medical degree from Northwestern University, he completed residencies in general and plastic and reconstructive surgery through Northwestern.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.