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Summary: Social media certainly has a history with plastic surgery, and that history can be both a good thing and a bad thing. More information is always good, but how that information is presented is certainly important.

Investigating SnapChat and Plastic Surgery

It’s no secret that social media and plastic surgery have gone hand in hand the last few years. As photos and images have become easier to share and send over the internet, there has been increasing pressure to, well, look great. All the time. Now, of course, that’s only part of it; social media has played an aspirational role as well (that is, you see how great you look with a certain filter applied, and you aspire to look that wonderful all the time). In other ways, social media may simply raise awareness of some problem areas you want to address.

But there’s one particular social media app that is taking the plastic surgery world by storm, and that’s SnapChat. For those that don’t know, SnapChat is an image-sharing and message-sharing social media service where the basic premise is that, shortly after the image is sent, that image is then deleted forever. It’s kind of like that old thing from Mission Impossible where the message self destructs. That’s SnapChat, in a nutshell. Only it’s on your phone. It’s popular with a younger crowd (basically, if you think Facebook is cool, you’re a parent; if you think SnapChat is cool, well, you’re cool too).

The Place of SnapChat in Plastic Surgery

One of the reasons I bring up SnapChat, in particular is because there’s one Miami plastic surgeon who has been known to use it quite profusely. He will actually SnapChat (or have an assistant SnapChat) during a procedure. The point is that, if you consent to it, you will likely have your plastic surgery procedure broadcast to the SnapChat world. The nice thing is that, the way SnapChat works, those images won’t likely last long (unless someone saves them… which they can do). There are some definite benefits and some drawbacks to this social media strategy.

The primary benefit of SnapChatting plastic surgery procedures is that patients get a certain amount of added transparency. Your surgeon will definitely tell you what happens during your procedure, but it’s another thing entirely to see it. Transparency is almost always a good thing, especially when a patient wants to know more about a procedure; knowing precisely what will happen to you can fall into the beneficial category. And, for some, this will come as a relief; sometimes our imaginations can make plastic surgery a little more intimidating than it is in real life. That’s true with a facelift or a breast augmentation.

But the flip side of this is that sometimes we get an intimidating amount of information. There’s no doubt that some procedures look, well, painful. Seeing those procedures through SnapChat isn’t exactly the best context in which to view a plastic surgery procedure, especially when someone isn’t there to explain precisely what is happening and why. If you have questions about what will happen during a procedure—and you want to see what will happen—it’s probably best to get those questions answered by your plastic surgeon and not by SnapChat. For example, your surgeon may use a less invasive version of the procedure you saw on SnapChat.

Seeing Plastic Surgery and the Restuls

Of course, this Maimi surgeon has performed his SnapChat surgeries on many people; and, for the most part, this feels like a gimmick. That said, it does help this surgeon connect with people who might otherwise not consider plastic surgery or cosmetic procedures. I guess what I’m getting at is that this SnapChat surgeon (and others who will undoubtedly follow in his footsteps) can be a good source of information; but he shouldn’t be your only source. You should seek out many well respected sources of information.

Once such source is a plastic surgery social media service known as RealSelf. This service offers patients access to a wide variety of photos and Q&A. That’s right—you can ask surgeons questions directly and, in most cases, get decent answers. Likewise, you can look at the questions others have asked and get information from that. And, of course, you can always check the websites of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and other plastic surgery societies and boards.

Then again, the best source of information will likely be your plastic surgeon. Having one-on-one discussions with plastic surgeons as a way to get information cannot be underestimated. This not only helps you figure out how you feel about that surgeon, but it helps you talk about the procedure and your desired results. The more your surgeon knows about your desired results, the better those results will likely be. And that’s something worth SnapChatting about.

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