#PlasticSurgery: an overview of the internet presence and utilisation of social media platforms by South African plastic surgeons
Background: Information about plastic surgery procedures is becoming more easily accessible everyday as the influence of social media expands rapidly. Plastic surgeons may use these platforms to advertise their practices and facilitate patient education. This study aimed to investigate the online presence of South African plastic surgeons with regard to personal practice websites and social media profiles.
Methods: Plastic surgeons listed on the Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons of South Africa (APRASSA) website were searched for on the internet. Professional websites were examined for links to social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). Personal profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were excluded.
Results: The total number of South African plastic surgeons listed on the APRASSA website totaled 148 at the time of collation. Three surgeons (2%) had direct links to their personal website on the APRASSA listing. Sixty-four plastic surgeons (42.7%) had websites directly related to their plastic surgery practice. Of those, only 15 provided links to any form of social media. Twelve surgeons had links to a Facebook page (18.75%) pertaining to their practice. Eleven had links to a Twitter profile (17.8%), and only one had links to an Instagram account (1.6%).
Conclusion: The role of social media in the plastic surgery community appears to have significant implications for the future of the specialty. Adoption of these platforms is necessary to maintain interaction with patients and colleagues in the digital age.