The following is a summary of “Social Media in Aesthetic Dermatology: Analysis of the Users Behind the Top Filler Posts” published in the December 2022 issue of Dermatologic Surgery by Richey et al.
In the field of aesthetics, the impact of social media is particularly significant, as an increasing number of patients are turning to this form of communication to look for advice and information regarding health care. Researchers wanted the most accurate picture possible of what our patients would run into on social media, so they analyzed the top postings on the most widely used visually-based social networking platform. This allowed them to get a better sense of what their patients might experience online (Instagram). Investigators conducted a search on Instagram using a number of different hashtags that were associated with filler in order to identify which hashtags had the highest amount of posts associated with them.
Following that, study group went through the most popular 100 tweets related to the most popular 9 hashtags, making a note of whether the poster was a physician or a non-physician and whether or not an off-label procedure was discussed or carried out. The majority of the 900 posts that were analyzed contained writing from non-physicians, and the majority of the posts that were focused on off-label treatments also contained writing from non-physicians.
Plastic Surgery and Family Medicine were listed as the most popular specializations among the physician postings, followed by Dermatology as the third most common specialty. The majority of “top” content related to soft tissue augmentation is being provided by nonphysicians at a time when patients are increasingly turning to social media for recommendations and education regarding health care. This comes at a time when patients are increasingly turning to social media for health care education.