What Does it Mean to Be a #PlasticSurgeon? Analyzing Plastic Surgery Hashtag Utilization in Social Media

Nicholas Siegel, Hillary Jenny, Karan Chopra, Robin Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The utilization of social media is growing among academic and private practice plastic surgeons. Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine training backgrounds and board certification of medical professionals through the use of plastic surgery-related hashtags on a single social media platform, Instagram. Methods: Instagram was queried with 15 plastic surgery-related hashtags. Only the top 50 posts of each hashtag were analyzed at a single time point and international accounts were excluded. Data collected included account owner, degree, medical specialty, board certification, and type of post. Results: The study sample consisted of 750 posts from an Instagram query in January 2019. Medical professionals accounted for 75% (n = 561) of posts. Board-certified physicians accounted for 56% (n = 420) of posts. Of the physician posters, 51% (n = 230) were trained in plastic surgery, 30% (n = 133) in otolaryngology, and 19% (n = 87) in other specialties. Facial rejuvenation content was more likely to be posted by otolaryngologists rather than plastic surgeons (P ≤ 0.001), whereas body-contouring procedures were more likely to be posted by plastic surgeons. Nonsurgical procedures and injectables were more likely to be posted by nonphysicians (P ≤ 0.001). Physicians without training in plastic surgery or otolaryngology were also more likely to post nonsurgical procedure-related hashtags (P ≤ 0.001). Conclusions: Medical professionals publish the majority of plastic surgery-related posts on Instagram; however, the utilization of plastic surgery hashtags by other specialties may be confusing or misleading to social media users who are unaware of interdisciplinary training differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)NP213-NP218
JournalAesthetic surgery journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 23 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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