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Are plastic surgery videos on YouTube accurate?

Woman looking at computer screen smiling.

According to a new study in the February issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), most videos about plastic surgery on YouTube are defined as “low quality.”

Factors that contribute to the low quality of the plastic surgery videos online include:

  • Confusing terminology
  • Inaccurate information
  • Unreliable sources

The study also found “less than ten percent of videos addressed the potential risks, indications, or side effects of cosmetic procedures.”

The information provided in the online videos was ranked according to the Ensuring Quality Information for Patients (EQIP) tool. This tool assess whether information is “understandable, non-biased and properly describes the risks, benefits and alternatives of medical treatment.” Some search terms received a higher EQIP rating because of the volume of plastic-surgeon produced video content, including ‘breast augmentation,’ ‘eyelid surgery’ and ‘buttock lift.’

Because YouTube has two billion users, it’s vital to question what you’re watching and understand which videos contribute to misinformation. According to a senior author of the study, the best ways to ensure you’re getting accurate information online is to check the following:

  • Is the video produced by a board-certified plastic surgeon?
  • Does the video address both the benefits and risks of the surgery?
  • Does the video talk about who is a good candidate for the surgery?

Although researching the above questions may take extra time, it’s worth the effort to ensure you’re getting accurate information about a surgery.

Sources:

New Study Examines the Accuracy of Plastic Surgery Videos on Social Media; American Society of Plastic Surgeons

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