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Many YouTube Plastic Surgery Videos are Misleading, finds Study

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YouTubeSocial media has transformed the way people communicate and carry on with their everyday lives. Many leading plastic surgeons offering body contouring NYC share their videos of their procedures on social media for educational and marketing purposes. Social media platforms such as YouTube have reaped millions of views for videos that document plastic surgery procedures such as facial plastic surgery, patient experiences, and medical commentaries. But are these YouTube videos on plastic surgery authentic and can you trust and rely on such videos? No, says a recent study published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.

The growing popularity of YouTube as a primary source of medical information led researchers to evaluate video quality and creator qualifications. According to the RUTGERS TODAY report on the study, the investigators evaluated YouTube videos on facial plastic surgery procedures and found that most of them are misleading marketing campaigns posted by non-qualified medical professionals. The lead author Boris Paskhover, an assistant professor at Rutgers University, said that the millions of people who look to YouTube as a source for education on facial plastic surgery “receive a false understanding that does not include the risks or alternative options”.

The researchers assessed 240 top-viewed videos with 160 million combined views that resulted from keyword searches for “blepharoplasty,” “eyelid surgery,” “dermal fillers,” “facial fillers,” “otoplasty,” “ear surgery,” “rhytidectomy,” “facelift,” “lip augmentation,” “lip fillers,” “rhinoplasty” and/or “nose job.” The videos were evaluated using DISCERN criteria, a scale for assessing the quality of medical information presented online or in other media, which considers account risks, a discussion of non-surgical options and the validity of the presented information. The team also assessed the people who posted videos, including whether they were healthcare professionals, patients, or third parties. The results were as follows:

  • Majority of the videos did not include professionals qualified in the procedures portrayed, and 94 videos had no medical professional at all.
  • Seventy-two videos featuring board-certified physicians, had relatively high DISCERN scores and provided some valuable patient information.

The study’s lead author notes that even videos posted by legitimate board-certified surgeons may be marketing tools made to look like educational videos. So, he recommends that patients and physicians who use YouTube for educational purposes should be aware that YouTube videos are meant for marketing and can “present biased information, be unbalanced when evaluating risks versus benefits, and be unclear about the qualifications of the practitioner”.

The physician-patient relationship is very important and special, and goes beyond marketing strategies and educational methods. Reliable plastic surgeons post tactful educational videos that show how cosmetic procedures can help patients and also provide them with a realistic view of what to expect.

If you are considering body contouring in NYC, choose an AAAASF-accredited plastic surgery center that has skilled and experienced plasticsurgeons. The best way to learn about a procedure is to view videos posted on reliable plastic surgery practice websites. Such sites post authentic videos of their plastic surgeons performing procedure on patients. These videos help potential candidates learn how the plastic surgeon works, how comfortable the patient is, extent of changes that the procedure can bring about, and so on. Reputable plastic surgeons make videos by considering hiring a professional video grapher and also train staff and others about maintaining professionalism and integrity by adhering to ethical standards that prioritize decisions that will not harm patients.

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