A recent survey carried out by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), and reported in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, revealed that the majority of its members had used online media at least once to learn a new technique. Of the 200 plastic surgeons surveyed, almost two thirds (64%) had learnt a new procedure from online videos, the most common of which were rhinoplasty and Botox. Less experienced surgeons were more likely to have used online videos than the more experienced.
Dr Michael R Zenn, vice chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Duke University School of Medicine, explained that these videos are “just one piece of the puzzle”. Zenn himself has used these videos to learn new surgical techniques and has been making and posting his own since 2013. Zenn explained that all surgeons have gone through extensive training and used videos as their continuing education. He believes that online videos are not that different from other training methods.
However, concern has been expressed over the quality of these videos and some researchers have cautioned that posting these videos might harm the professionalism of surgeons. There is also concern that these videos could fall into the hands of the wrong people resulting in DIY procedures being carried out at home.
To improve the quality of online videos some medical societies have launched websites such as the Plastic Surgery Education Network which features videos vetted by board-certified experts.
Elise Bevan, a senior associate in the Penningtons Manches clinical negligence team, comments: “The rise in the number of surgeons using online media to learn from is worrying because of the quality of these sources. I was astonished at how easy it was to find video to teach me how to use Botox. Sadly, we see many people who have had devastating complications following cosmetic procedures which may have been performed by unqualified practitioners.”