The Internet has certainly taken over the world, with all corners of lifestyle and the economy latching on to it’s success. For plastic surgery, this had led to a growing depth of educational video and articles for potential patients. With the rise of social media, some of that has taken a turn into perhaps spectacle. Board certified plastic surgeons Dr. Jason Pozner of Florida and Dr. Jamil Ahmad of Toronto discuss what may be too much on the latest episode of No Spin Live.
Live Surgery and Social Media
One of the most concerning – and interesting to apparently many – is a trend to film live surgery from the operating room. Not a professional film shoot where a team edits footage matched with surgeon voice over aimed at educating, but a surgical tech wielding an iPhone and blasting the unedited video out to Snapchat maybe before the patient has even woken up. This has spawned growing reputations for the surgeons who participate, but is it a good thing for the specialty, and patients?
“I think we’re in an interesting time,” says Dr. Ahmad, “with how quickly the internet and now social media and how we interact with patients. Quite frankly I’m undecided on this. I think it’s a very powerful tool to educate patients and show them what’s really going on in plastic surgery, but there certainly is a promotional marketing component to it. When I see some of these photos and videos on social media, I think the idea of maintaining some degree of professionalism as physicians and surgeons is important – there is some content out there that is really on the edge and sometimes people would be quite offended by it.”
While video and the channel of the Internet is truly an amazing tool for education, should it be used for what some may see as entertainment?
“I think it’s purely self-serving for the physicians who are putting these things up,” says Dr. Pozner. “They’re not interested in educating consumers, they’re just interested in getting patients into the practice to get operated on. If you really want to do it scientifically, get it filmed professionally, edit it, talk about it and distribute it for doctors, and cut it separately for patients. This is purely promotional and it’s all self-serving. I look at it and I laugh. We’re all busy surgeons. I want my OR to be private and I want to take time and concentrate on my patients, not on what’s being filmed.”
Dr. Pozner’s last point is one of considerable import: the OR is exactly that, an operating room. Surgery is a very serious thing, and those performing it are tasked with not just a desire for great results, but safety. If a surgeon is concentrating on the latest social media post instead of the patient on the table, maybe there is something amiss.