Ever since Facebook Live launched in 2015, brands have been experimenting with sharing real-time content. It’s proven quite effective for many as it offers a behind-the-scenes unfiltered view. One surprising business that has found success with this and Snapchat live streaming is plastic surgery offices. Board-certified plastic surgeon Thomas T. Jeneby, M.D., has captivated a growing audience interested in watching live surgeries. We chatted with Jeneby to learn more about incorporating video and live-streaming into medical spas.


How many surgeries have you broadcast?

We have live streamed at least 50 of our surgeries. Collectively our videos have more than 400,000 views and our Plastic and Cosmetic Center of South Texas Facebook page that airs the live videos has more than 1.5 million impressions (i.e., how many times the stream is displayed on someone’s Facebook page, whether they click it or not.)


Why did you begin live-streaming surgeries?

We started streaming the surgeries in attempt to educate the public and provide our patients with insight into how surgeries are performed in our OR. We began live streaming regularly in the beginning of 2016. We started Snapchat a bit before we worked with Facebook Live and it did pretty well on its own, but things really started to take off once we launched Facebook live segments.


What response have you gotten from the patients being filmed?

The patients that choose to participate love it. Of course we have their written permission and no names or faces are on air for privacy reasons. My patients appreciate the ability to share their cosmetic experiences with their family and friends live as it happens, as well as being able to go back and watch how their own surgeries were performed.


How do you protect the privacy and safety of the patients being filmed?

First, we have participants give written permission to have their procedure(s) recorded and broadcasted. The privacy of our patients is a top priority and each participant can rest assured that no names, faces, or other personal information will be recorded or broadcasted during the operation. Safety in and out of the OR is single handedly our top priority here at the Plastic and Cosmetic Center of South Texas. The crew inside the OR is trained to maintain a sterile and clean environment, from me to our nurses to our public relations crew.


What types of surgeries have you streamed?

We have streamed a good variety of cosmetic surgeries. My most popular are breast augmentations with adjustable implants. We also regularly stream “Mommy Makeovers” which are multiple procedures that usually something with the breasts and the abdomen. We have also streamed tummy tucks, liposuction to various parts of the body, breast lifts, rhinoplasties, brow lifts, male abdominal etching, medial thigh lifts, and Brazilian butt lifts. We enjoy the diversity of our broadcast as it gives patients and prospects the ability to see how each of these surgeries is performed and ask questions in real time, as we perform them. Our greatest hope and primary goal is that our audience finds our broadcasts educational and informative.


What video/recording technology has worked best for streaming?

We’ve used a couple of different technologies for our streams. We mostly use iOS devices as they are mobile and easy to maneuver around the OR, but we have also used Canon Rebel T5i with a boom mic attachment and more professional equipment. We are currently looking into our next move and implementing new software to make our streams more engaging than ever before.


What are the most common questions you receive?

Outside of questions regarding pricing, some of our most asked questions are along the lines of “What is the recovery time for this surgery?” or “How long should I wait before I consider surgery if I recently had a child? Or had massive weight loss?”or “What is the level of pain involved in this surgery?”


What is your goal of the live streaming?

Our greatest hope is to provide an educational experience for everyone, whether they’re interested in undergoing cosmetic surgery or not. There is a lot that can be learned from our broadcasts. We have our anesthesiologist answer questions, our nurses contribute to the discussion and of course I provide real time commentary during the surgery itself. We love when our live audience asks questions as it initiates a dialogue we hope everyone can benefit from.


Have the videos led to new patients booking appointments?

Since our live broadcasts on Snapchat and Facebook Live, the amount of surgeries we perform at the Plastic and Cosmetic Center of South Texas has increased roughly 10 percent monthly.


What are some of the challenges of live-streaming surgeries?

Thankfully, we haven’t had too many challenges as far as a live-streaming surgery is concerned. Our public relations team is fully aware of their responsibilities in the OR to ensure all sanitation measures are kept to standard. Once we have that squared away, live streaming is quite easy for us.


What’s next for live broadcasts and where do you think this can go long term?

We hope to continue to improve the live streaming experience for our patients and our viewers. As we speak, we are looking into new software and new ways to create more of a television network vibe for our streams. We have some exciting new things coming soon, so make sure to stay tuned!