A survey by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons finds many physicians use social media to connect with patients. Dr. Louis C. Cutolo, Jr., a cosmetic surgery specialist serving Brooklyn, says this reflects how he uses tools such as Facebook.
Staten Island, New York (July 2013) — Half of the plastic surgeons responding to a recent survey reported using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to connect with patients. The finding doesn’t surprise Dr. Louis C. Cutolo, Jr., whose Staten Island cosmetic surgery practice serves Brooklyn and other areas of New York City.
“Most plastic surgeons I know,” says Dr. Cutolo, “embrace social media tools as a way to educate people interested in plastic surgery.”
A patient in Brooklyn, for example, may learn about a cosmetic procedure on his Facebook page, says Dr. Cutolo, whose page is often updated with links to stories about the plastic surgery field or tips about subjects such as skin care.
The Staten Island surgeon says he recently posted a document from the Food and Drug Administration’s website alerting the public about fraudulent versions of BOTOX® Cosmetic being sold in medical practices. That’s valuable, practical information that circulates throughout the online community very effectively via social media, says Dr. Cutolo.
Like all tools, he says, there is always the potential for misuse. Some surgeons who responded to the survey, which was published in the May issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, said they didn’t use social media because they had concerns about being too accessible. But Dr. Cutolo says his experience using social media is overwhelmingly positive.
“My practice actively uses its Facebook page to interact with patients and others interested in the field of cosmetic enhancement,” he says. “There is no threat to patient privacy, and it’s a valuable educational tool. It also helps us get the word out about special packages we offer.”
Dr. Cutolo says someone researching physicians can get a good feel for doctors and their practices by looking at both social media and a practice website. An active Facebook page, he says, communicates a lot about a plastic surgeon’s accessibility and says the doctor is up to date on the latest technology.
“Facebook is less formal than a website,” he says. “But can both play important roles in a plastic surgeon’s practice.”