While many patients may feel afraid before undergoing their first plastic surgery procedure, this was not the case for Jessica Wilson. The 29-year-old had already experienced numerous breast augmentations for months beforehand – by means of her surgeon’s Snapchat. Wilson told Fox News afterwards, “I would do it again. If I had another surgery, I’d definitely let him Snapchat it.”
Internet Fame for Surgeons
Recently, Fortune estimated that more than 7 billion videos are being uploaded and shared through this app each day. Dr. Matthew Schulman, the surgeon who performed the operation on Wilson, is part of an increasing amount of internet-famous surgeons who are making use of Snapchat. Schulman, who is based in New York said, “I was always looking for a way to broadcast my surgeries and get it out there, and interact with patients and future patients. I started [using Snapchat] about a year ago. I think that’s what revolutionized things for me as a plastic surgeon.”
Although Snapchat is known for enabling users to share brief video clips or photos that disappear 10 seconds or sooner after being opened, the site introduced its “stories” feature, which allows videos and photos to be posted for as long as 24 hours after originally being posted.
A Growing Trend
Schulman said that he performed between 35 and 40 surgeries per month, and up to 90% of patients permit him to broadcast their procedures via Snapchat. He mentioned that he has “several hundred thousand” followers and receives more than 450,000 views per day. In most cases, his medical assistant or nurse films while he is operating. “Any surgeries that I do I will broadcast. I traditionally do breast and body surgeries. We also broadcast non-surgical procedures like Botox fillers, facials and chemical peels. I’d say about 80 to 85% of the people who come in for a consultation are [sic] active followers on Snapchat,” he added. His Snapchat handle is nycplasticsurg.
Consent is given
Beforehand, Schulman’s patients sign a consent form detailing whether he can use footage from their procedure or not. While most give permission, they usually request that any identifying features such as faces or tattoos be concealed. However, Wilson gave him full permission to use media from her procedure in any way he wished. Being able to watch Schulman’s Snapchat while looking for a surgeon is what helped Wilson choose him, and she then agreed to have her photos shared so she could in turn help others to choose the right surgeon. Wilson’s family even followed the surgery and she was impressed with the fact that she got to watch it afterwards as well.
Schulman thinks that the trend of sharing surgeries on Snapchat will increase in future. “I think plastic surgeons are recognizing it’s an important social media platform, but I don’t think every plastic surgeon has the patience or the desire to do this because it does take some effort. I’m educational, but we’re not over the top,” he said. Wilson said, “I think with the trend, it’s something that’s gonna [sic] keep growing because obviously people are interested.”