Videos on YouTube can be posted without regulation or content oversight. Unfortunately, many patients use YouTube as a resource on aesthetic surgery, leading to misinformation. Currently, there are no objective assessments of the quality of information on YouTube about aesthetic surgery.
YouTube was queried for videos about the 12 most common aesthetic surgical procedures, identified from the 2015 American Society of Plastic Surgeons procedural statistics between May and June of 2016. The top 25 results for each search term were scored using the modified Ensuring Quality Information for Patients criteria based on video structure, content, and author identification. Average Ensuring Quality Information for Patients score, view count, and video duration were compared between authorship groups.
A total of 523 videos were graded after excluding duplicates. The mean modified Ensuring Quality Information for Patients score for all videos was 13.1 (SE, 0.18) of a possible 27. The videos under the search “nose reshaping” had the lowest mean score of 10.24 (SE, 0.74), whereas “breast augmentation” had the highest score of 15.96 (SE, 0.65). Physician authorship accounted for 59 percent of included videos and had a higher mean Ensuring Quality Information for Patients score than those by patients. Only three of the 21 search terms had a mean modified Ensuring Quality Information for Patients score meeting criteria for high-quality videos.
The information contained in aesthetic surgery videos on YouTube is low quality. Patients should be aware that the information has the potential to be inaccurate. Plastic surgeons should be encouraged to develop high-quality videos to educate patients.