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Social Media and Plastic Surgery Practice Building: A Thin Line Between Efficient Marketing, Professionalism, and Ethics

Abstract

Social media sites and platforms have grown in numbers with an enormous potential to reach and disseminate information in real time. They are impacting tremendously for better or for worse on the current practice of plastic surgery. As the demand for elective plastic surgery, in particular for aesthetic procedures, continues to rise, there is a need to determine the influence of social media advertisements and how it motivates the public to undergo cosmetic procedures. Most importantly, there is an urgent need to determine how the social media are impacting plastic surgery practice building and what is proper and efficient marketing while upholding ethics of the medical profession? A thorough PICO tool-based comprehensive literature search was conducted. Fifty-one peer-reviewed publications, 15 patient-centered, 33 provider-centered, and three combined patient/provider were identified to be relevant to the use of social media in plastic surgery and were selected for this review. Evidence on how social media influences the medical practice and helps in practice building remains scarce; nevertheless, reliance of plastic surgeons on social media to improve their practice has been increasing steadily. Social media may be a powerful tool to promote one's career. It presents, however, serious professional, legal, and ethical challenges including maintenance of professionalism and protecting patient confidentiality. If misused, it may be a quick way to end a plastic surgery practice.


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Correspondence to Odette Abou Ghanem.

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Atiyeh, B.S., Chahine, F. & Abou Ghanem, O. Social Media and Plastic Surgery Practice Building: A Thin Line Between Efficient Marketing, Professionalism, and Ethics. Aesth Plast Surg 45, 1310–1321 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00266-020-01961-2

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Keywords

  • Social media
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Plastic surgery
  • Practice
  • Aesthetic