People without experience are performing cosmetic surgeries and advertising themselves on Instagram, and a lot of users are hiring them more frequently. According to a new study published on Wednesday in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, people who are not board-certified plastic surgeons are those at the top of the posts on Instagram that announce these unqualified services.

The majority of posts on Instagram offering plastic surgeries come from users who have never studied anything related to real medical plastic surgery. In fact, those who are at the top of the feed when users look for hashtags linked with cosmetic surgery are mostly hair stylists, barbers or ER doctors, according to the researchers.

People without experience are performing cosmetic surgeries and advertising themselves on Instagram. Image credit: Azernews
People without experience are performing cosmetic surgeries and advertising themselves on Instagram. Image credit: Azernews

Services provided by people who are not eligible for membership in the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery – the first professional organization for cosmetic surgery – could cause terrible problems in patients’ lives, from surgeries ending in a total failure to even cause the death of the patient.

“I see examples of patients who’ve been botched by providers who were inadequately credentialed, and patients who were misled by false advertising or social media.” The faculty member at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine also said that “sometimes, if things seem too good to be true, they just might be,” said Dr. Clark Schierle, senior author of the study and a Northwestern Medicine plastic surgeon.

Unqualified services at the top of the Instagram feed when users search for cosmetic surgeon

Medical doctors who have a license can legally perform cosmetic surgeries. However, not all of them have the same experience, either the required to be considered as certified to perform as surgeons appropriately.

A lot of users are accepting to be treated by people who don’t have any experience with plastic surgery, specifically those who are not certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. According to the study, at least 26 percent of them hire doctors with other specialties, such as general surgeons, family doctors, gynecologists, dermatologists, otolaryngologists, and ER doctors.

Even worse, around 5 percent of people advertising their services on the social network were not even doctors. They were people with professions entirely unrelated with medicine working at spas, hair salons, and more.

Just only 17.8 percent of the top posts were from board-certified plastic surgeons, the research showed.

Researchers looked for 21 hashtags related to plastic surgery and found around 1.8 million posts, but only looked for the first 9 of them at the top of the search. They looked for hashtags like #PlasticSurgery, #FaceLift, #BreastImplant, #BoobJob, #LipoSuction and #BrazilianButtLift.

Last year, according to Dr. Schierle, a Georgia doctor, who was not specialized to perform plastic surgery, attended at her County cosmetic surgery clinic a botched liposuction. She later faced felony murder charges after two patients died. She lost her license in the Georgia state, although the prosecutors decided to drop the charges.

“It’s kind of like the wild west out there. Cosmetic surgery is really unregulated,” said the president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Dr. Clyde Ishii. “Consumers have to understand that cosmetic surgery is real surgery, with real complications.”

Source: Aesthetic Surgery Journal