Prior studies demonstrate that social media are used by plastic surgeons to educate and engage. The hashtag #PlasticSurgery has been studied previously and is embraced by American plastic surgeons and journals; however, no studies have examined its use or adoption across Europe.
A retrospective analysis of 800 tweets containing the words “plastic surgery” or the hashtag #PlasticSurgery in four of the most spoken European languages worldwide excluding English (Spanish, #CirugiaPlastica; French, #ChirurgiePlastique; Portuguese, #CirurgiaPlastica; and German, #PlastischeChirurgie) was performed. The following were assessed: identity of author, subject matter, use of the hashtag #PlasticSurgery in each language, whether posts by surgeons and academic institutions were self-promotional or educational, and whether a link to a journal article or a reference in PubMed was provided.
Seventeen percent and 3 percent of analyzed tweets came from plastic surgeons or academic institutions, respectively; only 17.5 percent of them were for educational purpose. None of them had any digital link to a peer-reviewed article or a scientific journal.
This study demonstrates the low participation of plastic surgeons and academic institutions in social media (especially for education) in four of the major world languages. Social media should be considered in Europe as an opportunity to increase leadership, improve education, and spread knowledge of plastic surgery by board-certified plastic surgeons.