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Framework for the Creation of Ethical and Professional Social Media Content

Schoenbrunner, Anna M.D.1; Gosman, Amanda M.D.2; Bajaj, Anureet K. M.D.3

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: April 15, 2019 - Volume PRS Online First - Issue - p
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000005782
Special Topic: PDF Only

Background: Social Media is a powerful tool that allows users to communicate directly with an online community. Plastic surgeons were early adopters of social media, recognizing its educational and marketing potential. With the use of social media come ethical and legal concerns. The lack of professional society policies on social media use has led to calls for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) to establish guidelines regarding the use of social media in medical practice. We propose a framework for the creation of ethical and professional social media content.

Methods: We reviewed the updated ASPS Code of Ethics, current professional organization codes of ethics and social media guidelines, recently published papers, and legal documents pertaining to social media use in medical practice.

Results: The updated ASPS Code of Ethics provides adequate guidance for the professional use of social media in plastic surgery practice. We drew upon the ASPS Code of Ethics along with existing professional society guidelines to develop a framework for the professional and ethical creation of social media content. We also propose a sample informed consent form for social media use.

Conclusions: Social media are powerful tools that will continue to transform the practice of plastic surgery and medicine at large. Plastic surgeons must uphold values of professionalism and ethics when using social media to protect patients and maintain the high professional standards of our specialty.

1 Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, The Ohio State University -- Columbus, Ohio

2 Division of Plastic Surgery, University of California, San Diego – San Diego, CA

3 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Financial Disclosures: Anna Schoenbrunner, MD: Nothing to disclose.

Amanda Gosman, MD: Nothing to disclose.

Anureet K. Bajaj, MD: Nothing to disclose

Contribution of Authors: All authors participated in the research, writing, and editing of this manuscript.

Corresponding Author: Anureet K. Bajaj, M.D., Bajaj Plastic Surgery, 8106 North May Avenue, Suite B, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73120, Phone: 405-810-8448, Fax: 405-810-9755, Email:

©2019American Society of Plastic Surgeons