Social media has become an essential component of the daily life of many Angelenos. According to Dr. James Marotta, the technology has had a profound impact on the practice of cosmetic surgery and has led to more ways for doctors and patients to connect than ever. He notes that in his own practice, his plastic surgery group has Facebook pages for the surgical division, the medispa, and hair restoration practice, a Twitter account, pages on Google+, Linked In, as well as links to a number of ratings and review sites such as Yahoo, Yelp, Healthgrades, Realself, Vitals, and Reputation.com. His office receives regular communications from patients requesting appointments, commenting on our posts, posting reviews, or buying skin care products. This entire process has been automated with patients able to reach us simply with the click of their mouse. We use social media as on outreach tool to keep our patients abreast of new procedures, new practice developments such as the opening of our new state of the art cosmetic surgery center, and upcoming seminars and promotions.
Dr. Marotta notes that, in addition, social media has directly created an increase in patient awareness of their appearance. Using a webcam or posting self-portraits on Facebook or Pinterest, has caused patients to see themselves more often than ever and in a different, sometimes harsher light. He explains that he recently performed a complete facial rejuvenation surgery including an upper and lower blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), endoscopic forehead/midface/temple lift, lower facelift and laser on a patient who could not bear seeing her “sagging” face staring down at the webcam. Two weeks after her procedure she was so thrilled she sent Dr. Marotta her webcam before and after contrasting her drooping facial features before with her new youthful appearance. He explains that this patient clearly needed and wanted the surgery for the right reasons, and her unhappiness with her appearance was just highlighted by her social media interactions.
Dr. Marotta notes that, as in any medical technology, there is a downside to cosmetic surgery coupled with social media. He has noted a rise in the number of individuals who he feels seek treatment through an unhealthy or overly critical eye toward their online appearance. Typically twentysomethings, these patients obsess over subtle changes they desire in their appearance with defects that they only notice in certain lights or in certain views or angles of pictures. These patients are usually seeking some form of facial reshaping like rhinoplasty (nose job), chin implantation, jawline reduction, cheek augmentation or reduction, or lip augmentation or reduction. They may request modifications to look more like a celebrity. He explains that a physician it is his job to discern the individuals who may have valid, easily correctable concerns from those who may have a more serious psychiatric condition like body dysmorphic disorder and refer them for counseling.
In addition to surgery, some of his patients are requesting non-invasive ways to bolster their online presence. Injectable therapies such as Botox®, fillers like Juvederm® or Restylane®, light based technologies such as laser, Ulthera®, Intense Pulsed light, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion. These procedurs all offer no downtime options to improve one’s appearance on the web. In addition, simple things like getting enough sleep, hydrating, moisturizing, avoiding salt, and staying away from the computer before the a.m. facial puffiness has gone down, can make a big difference in the way you look online.
About Dr. Marotta:
Dr. James Marotta is a dual Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon who specializes in facial plastic surgery with particular expertise and interest in minimally invasive (endoscopic) facial plastic surgery and facial rejuvenation/anti-aging (surgical and non-surgical). He attended Columbia University and graduated as president of the medical honor society at SUNY Stony Brook School of Medicine. He trained at Yale University in head and neck surgery and was consistently recognized as the top head and neck surgeon in the program. He achieved board certification upon completion of his residency. Dr. Marotta then completed additional subspecialty training as a fellow in facial cosmetic and reconstructive surgery at one of the leading facial plastic fellowships in the nation.