As social media continue to be widely used, understanding the current trend in social media use by plastic surgeons will help determine how the specialty can better harness its power and respect its risks. In this study, the authors performed a survey study of trainees, candidates, and members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons to determine current use and consensus on social media in plastic surgery.
An electronic survey was sent to plastic surgery trainees, candidates, and members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons using SurveyMonkey. Demographic data, social media use patterns, and views on social media use were collected.
When compared with salaried surgeons, private practitioners used social media for the promotion of their practice, such as patient acquisition (74.3 percent versus 28.3 percent) and branding (61 percent versus 21.7 percent). The majority of nonusers felt social media was too time consuming and susceptible to breach of patient privacy. The majority of social media users agreed that acceptable use included before-and-after photographs, video testimonials, and patient reviews. Both social media users and nonusers alike agreed that plastic surgery residents should receive training on social media.
This study showed that a majority of plastic surgeons use social media to brand their practice, attract patients, and educate the public. Without engaging in this valuable tool, plastic surgeons’ voices will be lost in the conversation. To use social media to their greatest potential, this specialty needs to begin formal training in the proper and ethical use of social media.