Plastic surgeons are turning to Snapchat to market their practices

09 September 2016

By Plastic Surgeon Dr Dirk Kremer.

SnapchatThere has been a striking new trend among plastic surgeons, especially in America, where they have taken to social media platforms including Snapchat in order to livestream and upload videos of cosmetic procedures.

These videos are often quite graphic (unsurprisingly considering the content), but that doesn't stop people from watching and tuning-in. What has driven this desire for patients (or maybe random onlookers) to watch these videos, and are they ethical?

Dr Miami

For over a year now, Dr Miami, a Miami-based cosmetic surgeon has been recording himself performing plastic surgery procedures on Snapchat, drawing in a not inconsiderable audience, and while Dr Miami paved the way for this sort of content, other plastic surgeons have taken the baton and run with it.

One such surgeon is Texan Dr Thomas Jeneby, who uploads videos of himself performing procedures to Snapchat and Facebook Live. In fact, Dr Jeneby’s videos have proven to be so popular that he has had to hire a full-time social media manager. Dr Jeneby estimates that he has over 24,000 viewers watching his videos daily, and 17,000 people watch the videos he uploads within the first hour of them being made live! It’s clear then that the graphic footage doesn’t put people off watching. He also gets permission from his patients before including them in any videos that he records.

While these trends started and are more prominent in America, the trend is beginning to make its way across the sea with Australia getting its first ‘live’ plastic surgeon in April. However, Dr Tavakoli, unlike his American counterparts, does not show the procedure itself, instead focusing on pre and post-surgery.

Marketing and education

It might be unsurprising to learn that these videos have huge marketing potential, making these plastic surgeons pseudo-celebrities, however, all of the plastic surgeons mentioned above highlight that there is an educational aspect to these videos.

By showing procedures being performed efficiently and effectively, it can do wonders for putting people’s minds at ease about the safety of cosmetic surgery procedures. With many people still concerned about the dangers of cosmetic surgery, often caused by fear-inducing media portrayal of surgery gone wrong, these videos can provide an outlet where surgeons are in control of how procedures are portrayed, and not the media. However, the educational side has its negative aspects.

For example, not only does Dr Jeneby stream procedures, he also answers any questions that his viewers may have either about the surgery in general, but also that specific procedure that he’s highlighting at the moment. While this is great in a general sense, it has meant he can cut-down on the length of the initial consultation, which is good from a business aspect, but not great for the patient.

In the UK, new regulations have been put into place to ensure that patients are getting the best possible treatment, and that cosmetic surgeons are responsible and aren’t casually performing surgery on patients. It’s important to understand why a patient wants work done, and ensure they understand what the procedure involves. So, while in a broader sense, these videos can help educate patients, it could also lead to less rigorous initial consultations.

Another problem is that because these videos are streamed primarily on Snapchat, a platform with a younger user-base compared to some other social media sites, it could be argued that these videos are being used to target younger and more impressionable people. It’s always important to remember who you could be affecting when discussing and marketing plastic surgery, another regulation set up in recent guidelines. That’s why I believe that while these videos are taking the world by storm, it’s unlikely that we’ll soon see a British, or perhaps even European equivalent of Dr Miami.

If you’re looking for cosmetic surgery, you should always do your research and choose a plastic surgeon you can trust. I am a German Board Certified specialist with global experience which has allowed me to develop my own signature cosmetic procedures. To arrange a consultation, contact us today, or to see examples of the work and the results I can achieve, visit the gallery.


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