Please don't find your plastic surgeon on Instagram

Instagram app
Instagram app (Image credit: Instagram)

Instagram is great for a lot of things: following your besties, posting selfies, updating your IG story with a wild night out, getting makeup recommendations from beauty gurus, following your favorite celeb's day-to-day super glam lives, and shopping for a plastic surgeon!

🎶 … One of these things is not like the other... 🎶

Social media has changed the way plastic surgeons interact with their colleagues, patients, and friends. Social media is a rapidly changing phenomenon that it is critical to plastic surgeons and their practice. Plastic surgery can be marketed directly to consumers and therefore social media can provide a valuable platform to interact with potential patients and to define a surgeon's expertise and practice online. Social media impacts search engine optimization algorithms, increasing web traffic to a surgeon's site, and it can affect patients' perceptions of the practice and surgeon. (Oxford Aesthetic Surgery Journal)

It's not a big surprise that plastic surgeons from around the globe are using large social media platforms like Instagram to promote and advertise their work, but picking a doctor because he/she is "Instagram Famous" or popular is quickly becoming a frightening pattern.

Only 18 percent of top plastic surgery-related posts on Instagram were by board-certified plastic surgeons (EurekAlert!

The majority of posts that advertise plastic surgery — the most popular being procedures for lip enhancement and breast and bum augmentation — actually come from physicians that weren't trained at all in plastic surgery, or professionals like dentists or massage therapists, who weren't even licensed physicians.

While there are legitimate plastic surgeons who advertise their services online, it can still be daunting to see problematic/unsafe procedures being posted on popular Instagram pages that don't fully understand the ramifications of spreading false and dangerous medical information.

Some of these are doctors practicing outside of their scope of practice. Some of these are non-physicians just doing crazy stuff, like injecting silicone building material from Home Depot into people's bodies without a medical license. These days, with the Internet and social media, these people have more of a voice and more opportunity for horizontal information transmission than ever before. (Dr. Clark Schierle, board-certified Northwestern Medicine plastic surgeon and faculty member at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)

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So where do I find the perfect plastic surgeon?

If you were looking for someone that's more credible, you could always use good ol' fashioned word of mouth to find the perfect surgeon for your situation, or you could always go on Yelp to see if someone is credible.

Another course of action you could take would be to check through your health care provider's website to find any strong recommendations there: just please don't search #LIPFILLERZ.

What do you think?

Do you think Instagram is a great place to shop for services like plastic surgery or dentistry, or would you rather go elsewhere and not trust random people online?

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Cella Lao Rousseau

Cella writes for iMore on social and photography. She's a true crime enthusiast, bestselling horror author, lipstick collector, buzzkill, and Sicilian. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @hellorousseau