More Patients are Turning to Social Media to Make Decisions

social media decisions, facelifts, celebrity plastic surgeries, rhinoplasty, BotoxIf you were considering facial plastic surgery, where would you look for advice and information? According to new survey results released by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, it seems more likely that you would seek out social networking sites, rather than friends, as part of your decision-making process. The survey points to a shift in medical decision-making that presents opportunities and uncertainties for patients and plastic surgeons.

AAFPRS learned that 42 percent of patients in 2011 had received most of their information about plastic surgery from social media venues such as Facebook and Twitter. This was an increase from 29 percent in 2010. Over the same period, the proportion of patients who gained information from friends dropped from 63 percent to 48 percent.

Tom D. Wang, M.D. and AAFPRS president, expressed some concerns for patients who may receive the wrong impression about surgery through social media. “We are encouraged by the possibilities that Facebook, Twitter and other social channels offer for prospective patients, but urge all patients to exercise caution in researching facial plastic procedures to ensure information is from a reliable source.” He urged patients to consult a board-certified physician “who is qualified, experienced and trained in performing facial plastic procedures.”

Other results from the survey reinforced ongoing trends, such as the continued popularity of Botox and hyaluronic acid injections as nonsurgical alternatives. Blepharoplasty, brow lifts, and facelifts also remain quite popular.

Some other results from the survey:

  • Rhinoplasty continues to be the most common surgical procedure performed on both women and men under the age of 35.

  • A quarter or more of facial plastic surgeons have seen an increase in the number of ethnic minority patients

  • African Americans and Hispanics are the most likely to seek rhinoplasty, while Asian Americans are the most likely to seek blepharoplasty.

  • Only 14 percent of surgeons saw an increase in requests for “celebrity procedures” such as Angelina Jolie’s lips.

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