Summary: It’s true that plastic surgery videos on YouTube might be unreliable, just as any information you get on the internet should be circumspect to a degree. It’s important to know how to differentiate between good and poor sources of information, and plastic surgery videos on YouTube are no different.
Reasons Why Plastic Surgery Videos on YouTube Might be Unreliable
Plastic surgery videos on YouTube are an excellent source of information, especially when they come from the patients and the surgeons themselves. These videos can teach you about your plastic surgery recovery or they can illustrate exactly what an incision for rhinoplasty really looks like.
But there’s a trend–and it’s not limited only to those who watch plastic surgery videos on YouTube–to use these videos as a kind of comprehensive education. That is, patients and surgery candidates tend to look at these videos as the final authority on the topic.
And, of course, they aren’t. Plastic surgery is an incredibly complex undertaking, which means that there’s no way to learn every single thing about a procedure–and how that procedure is performed on a given individual–from watching videos on YouTube. There’s a reason why plastic surgeons are required to study for years and years before they’re allowed to practice medicine, much less perform surgery. And it’s that complexity that might make plastic surgery videos on YouTube a touch unreliable.
Plastic Surgery Variables
The human body is infinitely complex. But it’s also varied almost without limit. The ways in which you differ from your fellow human are almost too many to contemplate (and yet, we are much more alike than we are different). And that’s where part of the problem with these plastic surgery videos on YouTube comes in:
- Patients themselves can be quite variable. Just because one patient featured on Youtube uses a specific technique to get results doesn’t mean that technique will be right for you. Likewise, if one patient has a particularly challenging recovery period, that doesn’t necessarily mean your recovery will be demanding as well.
- Surgeons are also, you know, human beings. And they can be quite varied in and of themselves. They have preferred methods and techniques–and those preferred methods or techniques may change slightly from patient to patient, depending on the patient’s own anatomy and desired outcome.
Those two sets of variables are enough to make any plastic surgery video on YouTube informational at best. That doesn’t mean these videos are without merit or value. Indeed, you can learn a lot about a plastic surgery procedure from YouTube videos. And the more you know about a given procedure, the more prepared you might be to undergo that procedure.
Likewise, videos are a good way to learn in general. Studies have shown that, at least on the internet, videos improve engagement and retention, at least from a marketing perspective. That might not make videos the best way to prep for a test (indeed, I find that reading is the best way to actually retain information over a long period of time). But it can make plastic surgery procedures easier to understand than a block of text.
Types of Cosmetic Surgery on YouTube
Ultimately, there are several different types of plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery videos:
- Patient stories: Some videos come straight from the patient’s mouth. These are often in the form of confessional blogs, or video blogs, or vlogs (whatever you want to call them). They articulate a single patient’s experience–and it’s important to keep in mind that this is only a single patient’s experience. Your experience might not be reflected in theirs.
- Surgeon discussion: Many videos will feature a surgeon discussing a particular procedure or set of procedures. These videos tend to be quite straightforward, but only touch on a given topic in a relatively shallow manner. Otherwise you’d be sitting down for a three or four hour video, and most of us don’t have the time (or the patience!) for that.
- Procedure videos: This final set of videos are ones in which you can actually watch a procedure occur. Sometimes these videos will be narrated, but not always. Whether someone is speaking over them or not, patients can usually see the procedure play out in all its grisly details (or not, depending on the procedure). This can be unsettling for some patients, but that’s understandable.
- Cosmetic procedure videos: It’s funny–many patients don’t want to watch a surgical nose job procedure in a YouTube video. But videos of non surgical rhinoplasty procedures are incredibly popular. Sure, the reasons for that are obvious: less blood and gore. But some of the appeal might be in how straightforward those non invasive procedures are: just a few injections and you’re done!
Talk to Your Surgeon to Get the Facts
Plastic surgery videos on YouTube can be a great place to go as a kind of beginner’s course. But it’s important to remember that you’re not getting all the facts from those videos–and the facts you do get might not necessarily pertain to your specific situation.
In other words, it’s incredibly important that you talk to your surgeon about your desired procedure. Even if you’ve looked at all of the videos on YouTube, your surgeon is going to be the best source of information about your procedure.
- Crist, Carolyn. “Plastic Surgery Videos on YouTube Aren’t Always Accurate.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 24 Aug. 2018, www.reuters.com/article/us-health-plastic-surgery/plastic-surgery-videos-on-youtube-arent-always-accurate-idUSKCN1L926I.
- Keck, Catie. “No, You Shouldn’t Get Plastic Surgery Advice from YouTube.” LiveScience, Purch, 16 Aug. 2018, www.livescience.com/63352-plastic-surgery-youtube.html.
- Harfenist, Ethan. “Plastic Surgeons Watch YouTube To Learn New Methods.” Vocativ, Vocativ, 5 Mar. 2016, www.vocativ.com/293910/plastic-surgeons-watch-youtube-to-learn-new-methods/index.html.
About the Author: Dan Voltz is a marketer who specializes in cosmetic and plastic surgery. He is constantly finding new and interesting aspects of the beauty and health markets about which to write.