Cross-sectional Analysis of Instagram Use in American Plastic Surgery Practices
Darren L. Sultan, M.D.1, John Perrotti, B.A., M.B.A.2, Mona Clappier, B.A.1, Neil Tanna, M.D., M.B.A.1
1Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell; the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Northwell Health, 2SUNY Downstate College of Medicine, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
Background: The exponential growth of Instagram and other social media platforms in the past decade has transformed advertising within plastic surgery. While recent studies have sought to characterize these developments, an objective analysis of these trends is needed.
Methods: This study is a cross-sectional analysis of online media use by American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) members who were board-certified in 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015, and 2019. Online searches revealed information on education, practice website, social media metrics, and practice geography. Website traffic was determined using an online tool called StatShow. Geographic determination of metropolitan-based practices was made based on rural-urban continuum codes set by the Department of Agriculture. Descriptive and quantitative statistical analyses were used to make inferences regarding the study aims.
Results: A total of 811 plastic surgeons were included in the study. 11 were excluded due to insufficient data. 58.6% had practice websites, and 43.9% had professional Instagram accounts. Instagram use was widespread no matter the type or lack of subspecialty fellowship training, and there was no significant difference in the number of followers (p = 0.34). The year of ABPS certification had no significant effect on the number of followers (p = 0.12); however, those most recently in practice and those most seasoned tended to have the fewest. The top 1% of plastic surgeons in the overall study cohort with the highest number of Instagram followers collectively had more followers than the remaining 99% combined. Those with metropolitan-based practices had significantly higher website traffic (p = 0.01) but no significant difference in the number of Instagram followers (p = 0.88) when compared to those in less populated regions. There was no evidence that the number of Instagram followers or number of posts per month correlated with increased website traffic (R2 of 0.004 and 0.036, respectively).
Conclusions: The study demonstrates findings from a large cross-sectional analysis of plastic surgeons from different training Background:s, regions, and years of experience. Collectively, the use of Instagram as part of a professional practice is widespread, but there is no clear correlation between its use and an increase in website traffic.
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