Study Shows Social Media Increases Physical Self-Awareness

Social media is driving consumers to become more critical of themselves, according to a new survey by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS). The annual poll of 752 of the organization's board-certified facial plastic surgeons found that there was a 31 percent increase in requests for surgery as a result of social media photo sharing. The study shows that a growing number of procedures are cosmetic versus reconstructive in nature, accounting for 73 percent of all procedures in 2012, up from 62 percent in 2011. Of the procedures requested as a result of social media influence, rhinoplasty, Botox, and facelifts topped the list.

While social media continues to play an increasingly large role in how consumers view themselves, its influence as a trusted informational resource for plastic surgery is diminishing. Last year, just 7 percent of prospective patients used social media to research doctors and procedures, down from 35 percent in 2011. Instead, 57 percent got their information about plastic surgery online, with 33 percent relying on referrals.

“Patients are becoming increasingly more sophisticated in their knowledge of plastic surgery due to the obvious increases in online research and validations,” says Ed Williams, M.D., group vice president for public and regulatory affairs for the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. “Our members are seeing a much more educated consumer base than ever before, thanks to the increased availability of information.”