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Social Media and the Plastic Surgery Patient

Sorice, Sarah C. M.D.; Li, Alexander Y. B.S., M.S.; Gilstrap, Jarom M.D.; Canales, Francisco L. M.D.; Furnas, Heather J. M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: November 2017 - Volume 140 - Issue 5 - p 1047-1056
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000003769
Special Topics
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Press Release

Background: Many plastic surgeons use social media as a marketing tool to attract and retain patients, but information about how patients use social media and their preferred types of plastic surgery posts have been lacking.

Methods: To investigate patients’ preferred social media networks and the type of posts they wished to see, a cross-sectional study was conducted in a single aesthetic practice of two plastic surgeons by surveying 100 consecutive patients.

Results: The age of the patients averaged 44.4 years (range, 17 to 78 years). Facebook had the greatest patient use and engagement, with YouTube second in use, and Instagram second in number of engaged users. Over half used Pinterest, but with little daily engagement. Only one-fourth used Snapchat, but the percentage of users who were highly engaged was second only to Facebook. The least popular network was Twitter, with the fewest patient users and least engagement. Social media played a minor role compared with the practice’s Web site in both influencing patients to choose the practice and providing information on the day of the appointment. Patients most wanted to see posts on a plastic surgeon’s social media platform related to practice information, before-and-after photographs, and contests. Articles about plastic surgery held the least interest. Among five types of Web site content, patients expressed most interest in before-and-after photographs.

Conclusions: This study is the first to articulate the plastic surgery patient perspective regarding social media. The findings aim to help plastic surgeons maximize their influence on their target audience.

Stanford and Santa Rosa, Calif.

From the Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Stanford University Medical Center; and Plastic Surgery Associates of Santa Rosa.

Received for publication January 20, 2017; accepted April 3, 2017.

Disclosure:The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and publication of this article. None of the authors has a financial interest in any of the products or devices mentioned in this article.

A “Hot Topic Video” by Editor-in-Chief Rod J. Rohrich, M.D., accompanies this article. Go to and click on “Plastic Surgery Hot Topics” in the “Digital Media” tab to watch. On the iPad, tap on the Hot Topics icon.

Heather J. Furnas, M.D., 4625 Quigg Drive, Santa Rosa, Calif. 95409,

Copyright © 2017 by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons