Plastic Surgery Research Council

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Social Media Preferences in Plastic Surgery: A Conjoint Analysis
Apoorve Nayyar, MBBS, S. Tyler Elkins-Williams, MD, Kristalyn K. Gallagher, DO, FACOS, Scott C. Hultman, MD, MBA, Cindy Wu, MD.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

PURPOSE:
In an era of increasing digitalization, social media has become an indispensable tool for patients to educate themselves about aesthetic surgical procedures and the surgeons that perform them. Previous studies have explored which social media platforms are used by plastic surgeons for increased patient outreach and information dissemination. However, minimal information exists about prospective patientsí preferences for various types of media (videos, photos, or text), procedure/physician attributes and their relative importance in the decision to choose an aesthetic plastic surgeon.
METHODS:
We utilized a choice-based conjoint analysis survey to analyze the social media preferences of prospective patients for three aesthetic procedures - breast augmentation (BA), facial rejuvenation (FR) and combined breast/abdominal surgery (BAB). The participants were asked to choose among social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube), extent of information available (basic[results/outcomes], moderate[surgery description, costs, results/outcomes], comprehensive[testimonials, surgeon reputation, surgeon experience, surgery description, costs, results/outcomes]), delivery mechanism (pre-recorded video, live video, photographs, text description), messenger (plastic surgeon, nurse/clinic staff, patient) and the option for interactivity (Yes/No). The conjoint analysis was administered to prospective patients using an Internet crowdsourcing service (Amazon Mechanical Turk ©).
RESULTS:
A total of 177 participants were recruited: 51 in BA, 91 in FR and 35 in BAB. The BA and FR participants valued social media platform as the most important (28.9%, 34.6%), followed by extent of information (23.8%, 21.5%), messenger (18.5%, 17.4%), delivery mechanism (17.8%, 16.3%) and interactivity (11%, 10.2%). The BAB participants valued social media platform as the most important (32.3%), followed by messenger (19.4%), delivery mechanism (18.5%), extent of information (17.8%) and interactivity (11.9%). All participants ranked Facebook as the preferred social media platform followed by YouTube, comprehensive information extent, live-video as the delivery mechanism and the plastic surgeon as the messenger.
CONCLUSION:
The choice of the social media platform is the most important factor for aesthetic surgery patients when researching for a plastic surgeon, with Facebook being the preferred platform. Patients prefer live-video for information delivery over other types of media, preferably with detailed information of surgeon's attributes, procedure details and costs. The patients prefer the information to be delivered by the plastic surgeon. Our study elucidates the social media usage in three common aesthetic populations, which can help improve aesthetic patient outreach. Our study also demonstrates that Internet crowdsourcing is an efficient, anonymous and economical method for participant recruitment. Knowledge of patient preferred methods for information delivery through social media can help plastic surgeons concentrate their resources and social media use in a way that maximizes their impact on their target patient population.


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