In 2017, plastic surgeons and Snapchat go together like Kardashians and baby rumors. Surgeons are using social media to boost their businesses more than ever, some going the extra mile to make the operating room entertaining by getting silly on camera with a comatose patient wide open on the table. Dancing, cradling freshly removed tissue like a baby, and hot dog filter fun are just a few of the hijinx that are prompting the American Society of Plastic Surgeons to want to crack down.
It shouldn’t come as a shocker that docs posting on social media during surgery can be seemingly dangerous, but that doesn’t stop Dr. Maimi, Dr.BFixin and many others, who have built their brand off of giving audiences a behind-the-scenes look at the wonders of plastic surgery.
At 83,000 followers on Twitter and 661,000 on Instagram, Dr. Michael Salzhauer, MD, a.k.a. “Dr. Miami,” is the blueprint for this behavior. The doc is a celebrity fave, even getting his own doc-series on WE TV. In a recent video he posted, the “dancing hotdog” filter is imposed over a tummy tuck.
“The dancing hot dog is a very funny meme,” Salzhauer says, “which, like bitmojis, can be superimposed on any photo or video with a swipe. I’ve never had a patient complain about any filter or bitmoji over the last three years.” He says he wants his social media accounts to reflect the “fun vibe” of his office and that the patient thought the clip was funny.
Currently, there is no official code for this type of internet behavior, but Clark Schierle, MD, PhD, a plastic surgeon and faculty member at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, wants to change that. “They are regularly crossing the line to see how crass their content can be and gain attention,” says Schierle.
Schierle is a co-author of a new online code of ethics for plastic surgeons, set to be presented at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons annual meeting in Orlando this week. So what are the new rules being proposed? For one, patients would give “informed consent” about how footage from their surgeries was being used, including being fully informed about the “potential risks and benefit” of the videos being online. The new guidelines would also ban society members from “trivializing situations where patients are under anesthesia and are at risk of serious harm.”
While in the past, filming procedures was more for educational or promotional purposes, the code would put a stop to surgeons seeking social media popularity at the expense of their patients. Snapchat has been the number-one tool by such surgeons since the content is erased 24 hours after being viewed, leaving no signs of foul play behind.
(Photo: Philippe Regard/Getty Images)
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