Before-and-after photos, whether of celebrities like the women of "Real Housewives" or average Janes, are hard to resist. And that's no secret to plastic surgeons who are finding the best place to find new patients is in the feeds of Facebook and other social media platforms.
Half of U.S. plastic surgeons are using social media, according to a survey in the May issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, which included responses from 500 surgeons who are members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Facebook was by far the most popular platform, followed by LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.
The ASPS is setting the example for its members with active social media campaigns on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Google+. This month it's all about arm lifts, which have soared in popularity — thanks in part to the first lady's often-complimented upper arms, the ASPS said. It has confined its more graphic before-and-after photos to its website.
As for the other half of respondents who said they don't use social media, doctors reported concerns about maintaining their professionalism, protecting their patients' confidentiality and becoming too "accessible."
The ASPS is also branching into apps. Last month it made an iPad app available to member surgeons that includes a surgery simulator. Those considering cosmetic surgery can upload a photo of themselves into the app and make adjustments to see how they might look following surgery. While local versions of the app have not yet hit the App Store, a similar app called Plastic Surgery Simulator is available in both a free and a paid version for both iOS and Android.