Why it could be risky to find a plastic surgeon on Instagram

Posted at 4:41 PM, Aug 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-30 16:42:11-04

Believe it or not, some people are using Instagram to find plastic surgeons. This can be very risky and affect the outcome of the procedure.

When you see amazing photographs of people who’ve had plastic surgery, you need to look beyond the image.

A pilot study published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal analyzed over 1 million Instagram posts. They found that only 17% of plastic surgery-related posts in the US and in Canada came from board-certified plastic surgeons. 

Many of the posts were from doctors or professionals not trained in plastic surgery, like dentists, gynecologists and spa aestheticians.

Just like any type of surgery, you want someone with the right knowledge and experience.  If a surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, this means they’ve passed a written and oral exam, have at least five years of approved surgical training including a residency in plastic surgery, and they’ve graduated from an officially recognized medical school.

I’m a huge proponent of “love the body you were given”.  But I understand not everyone embraces this idea and there are situations where plastic surgery is necessary. 

So here are my prescriptions:

  1. Do your homework when choosing a surgeon. Check to see if their name is listed on the American Board of Plastic Surgery's website.
  2. Ask where the surgery will take place and if the surgeon has hospital privileges to perform the procedure.
  3. If the surgery takes place in an office, ask if the facility is accredited by a nationally or state-recognized accrediting agency, or if it’s state-licensed or Medicare-certified.
  4. Always ask how many procedures have been performed, what your risks and complications may be, and how they are handled if they happen.  

It’s great to see before and after shots and that’s something you can ask for when you meet the board-certified surgeon. 

You want to be careful that you’re not lured in or mislead by false advertising, or by those who don’t have the right training. You could jeopardize your safety, end up botched or suffer a dangerous outcome.