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A Primer on Social Media Use by Young Plastic Surgeons

Cho, Min-Jeong M.D.; Furnas, Heather J. M.D.; Rohrich, Rod J. M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: May 2019 - Volume 143 - Issue 5 - p 1533-1539
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000005533
Plastic Surgery Focus: Special Topics
Video Discussion

Summary: Similar to the outcry over the ethics of website marketing by physicians in the 1990s, the resistance to plastic surgeons’ use of social media has been loud and vehement. Many physicians, although receptive to website marketing, view social media as too radical or unprofessional. Despite the controversy, the value of social media as a communication tool for interacting with and educating patients is supported by studies showing that 65 percent of Americans and 90 percent of young adults use social media. Many plastic surgeons have been early adopters, as reflected by the articles written to help board-certified plastic surgeons use social media in academic medicine and for their practice. However, there is little guidance for young plastic surgeons who wish to use social media for professional purposes. In this study, the authors discuss the ethics and current literature on social media use by young plastic surgeons and make recommendations for how to use social media during training and after residency graduation.

Video Discussion by Smita Ramanadham, M.D., is Available for this Article.

Dallas, Texas; and Stanford, Calif.

From the Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; the Dallas Plastic Surgery Institute; and the Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Stanford University.

Received for publication December 7, 2017; accepted March 9, 2018.

Disclosure:Rod J. Rohrich, M.D., receives instrument royalties from Eriem Surgical, Inc., and book royalties from Thieme Medical Publishing; he is a Clinical and Research Study Expert for Allergan Inc., Galderma, and MTF Biologics, and the owner of Medical Seminars of Texas, LLC. No funding was received for this article. The other authors have no financial interest to declare in relation to the content of this article.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the text; simply type the URL address into any Web browser to access this content. Clickable links to the material are provided in the HTML text of this article on the Journal’s website (

A Video Discussion by Smita Ramanadham, M.D., accompanies this article. Go to and click on “Video Discussions” in the “Digital Media” tab to watch.

Rod J. Rohrich, M.D., Dallas Plastic Surgery Institute, 9101 North Central Expressway, Suite 600, Dallas, Texas 75231,, Twitter: @DrRodRohrich, Instagram: @Rod.Rohrich

Copyright © 2019 by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons