A recent study by Rutgers University published in the Journal of the American Medical Association publication JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery has revealed that a majority of the most popular, so-called "educational" plastic surgery videos on YouTube are more marketing material than actual education. But while this may not be surprising, experts argue it's definitely problematic.
Dr. Ryan Mitchell is a plastic surgeon practicing in Henderson, Nevada. He says the issue isn't so much the marketing, but who is behind that marketing.
"The problem with these videos is that the majority were found to be produced by unqualified or uncertified practitioners," says Mitchell. "So, these people look like experts, sound like experts - but they're not."
And that can be very confusing to patients who are in the market for a surgeon.
"If a patient sees a video of a doctor who seems to be an authority on breast augmentation and then uses that video to find the doctor without doing any actual research, that patient is potentially putting themselves in danger," Mitchell says. "Especially considering that the majority of the practitioners in the study weren't qualified."
According to Mitchell, these videos can still be beneficial to patients considering plastic surgery, but they should still use common sense when selecting a doctor.
"We always recommend you do your homework," Mitchell says. "Go to a consultation, get a feel for the practice. Look at the before-and-after photos, see if your budget allows it. But always, always, always make sure you check their board certification, too. If they're not board certified, find a surgeon who is."