Aesthetic Surgeons Taking Social Media by Storm

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Friday, July 14, 2017

Aesthetic surgeons have long marketed their practices through before and after pictures of patients. While it is still an integral part to marketing an aesthetic practice, surgeons are now tapping in to society’s push for instant gratification by posting photos and videos on social media. posted an article on April 20, 2016 titled “Plastic Surgeons taking to Snapchat to Broadcast Operations in Real Time”. This article discusses the Snapchat following of a plastic surgeon in New York who does a live Snapchat of his surgeries. Aesthetic surgeons now often post photos and videos before, during, and after surgeries through Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets.

On April 5, 2016, I presented on a panel at the Aesthetic Meeting for the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Much of our presentation and the audience questions were centered around the growing use of social media. The questions posed to the panel had a common thread: Is it legal to post patient photos and videos on social media?

Using social media to post pictures and even surgeries are legal as long as certain areas of law are navigated. First, the patient must sign a proper consent allowing for the use that will be used on social media. The traditional patient consents for before and after pictures often are not sufficient for this new use. Because of the ease and instant ability to post on social media, doctors occasionally act too fast and create significant risk. Another area of risk is state advertising rules. For example, Texas has strict laws regarding patient testimonials. Many social media posts can in some instances be viewed as a testimonial. Finally, it is important to be careful to follow federal and state patient privacy laws.
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