CINCINNATI – Could social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn be leading more people to get plastic surgery? The answer is yes.
All of the social media sharing is driving some people like Kathy Grogan who wanted to improve her appearance to the plastic surgeon's office. Before getting plastic surgery, Grogan says she was not comfortable in front of the camera and she had the pictures to prove it.
"Now, I find myself posting them myself and they're candid, not still shots," Grogan said. "But it's like at the Reds game last week, they took a picture of me and I posted it on Facebook because it looked so good. And I was very excited that I looked that good."
Two years ago, Dr. Gene Ireland from The Plastic Surgery Group gave Grogan her new look.
"Patients are starting to say, I look so bad on Facebook and was tagged and I gotta do something about this," said Ireland. "It's just another venue that's cropping up that shows a patient in a light that they don't like as well as they used to."
Dr. Mark Mandell-Brown says he's also seeing an increase in patients because of social media.
"All of us want to look our best," Mandell-Brown said. "We're finding people who are single, who are looking for jobs. They're using LinkedIn, they're using some of their Facebook and other social media avenues to seek friends or seek positions, re-contact old friends from high school and they want to present their best possible image."
Mandell-Brown said even during the recession, people will spend money on themselves.
"Even though they might tighten the budget, they'll spend money maybe on Botox or on little things such as soft tissue fillers or facial peels," said Mandell-Brown. "We're seeing an increase in those procedures compared to the more expensive tummy tucks, breast lifts, breast augmentation, mommy makeovers, because it's more affordable for some of these procedural cosmetic things that can be performed. But in our practice, we've been very fortunate – and each year we see just a little percentage increase and it may be partly the social media."
Kathy Stubbers is another who says her public image on social media platforms like Facebook is very important to her now.
"I'm getting a lot more looks than I used to or did, ever did," Stubbers said. "I just feel a lot better about myself."
Stubbers went to see Dr. Robert Hummel at The Plastic Surgery Group where she says he helped her after she'd lost a lot of weight.
"All of the sudden, I started getting comments like, who is this, what have you done, you look great," said Stubbers.
Dr. Hummel says it's difficult to tell exactly how much social media is helping his business.
"But I know it is," said Dr. Hummel. "I've had several patients comment on pictures they had seen that someone else had taken. They didn't have any control over it. Got posted on Facebook for example and that accelerated them coming in."
"It's boosted my confidence," Stubbers said.
All of the doctors we spoke with said it's too early to say the percentage of their business social media is driving. They expect that in the near future, they will have metrics to explain the impact.
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