Snapchat and Plastic Surgery: What’s the Connection, and Is It Ethical?
“Dr. Miami,” aka Dr. Michael Salzhauer has taken the Snapchat world by storm. But what’s unique about his social media account is that it features real-life plastic surgery patients before, during, and after surgery. When these posts were flagged as inappropriate on other social media platforms like Instagram, Dr. Miami’s teen daughter introduced him to Snapchat, which allows temporary pictures or videos to be posted to your “Story,” which will then disappear after 24 hours.
Thanks to his Snapchat account, Dr. Miami has reached a level of stardom in the realm of plastic surgery, with a personal record of 1.9 million views on just one of these famous Snapchat Stories. But are there risks involved in portraying plastic surgery in this Hollywood-type manner? So far, the consensus is split right down the middle, and here’s why.
How It Works
One crucial element of Dr. Miami’s Snapchat/plastic surgery gig is patient consent. Every person who is featured on his social media account has given their permission to be a part of his Snapchat session. In fact, many people–celebrities included–even book their procedure with Dr. Miami in hopes of appearing on one of his famous clips.
However, as the nature of any surgery can tend toward the graphic side, many of these mid-surgery Snaps may not be for the faint of heart. His social media account lets viewers in on the entire process of someone else’s breast implants, butt lift, tummy tuck, you name it (ABC News). But on top of intraoperative pics, Dr. Miami adds some of his own flair to each Snap. Sometimes, the surgeon is dressed in costume, ranging from a king to a cowboy, and other times, hip-hop music is playing in the background and he’s simply having fun.
The Dangers of “Shock Value” Plastic Surgery
If everyone featured in these “shock value” Snaps has provided their consent, then what could be the problem? Well, many of Dr. Miami’s peers think that the most dangerous aspect of this type of hype surrounding plastic surgery is that it could give millions of viewers a skewed perception of what plastic surgeons really do. The top three complaints voiced by other experts in the field are:
- Patient safety. Although this isn’t to say that Dr. Miami doesn’t follow safety precautions, some fellow plastic surgeons worry that the party atmosphere of these Snapchat sessions during surgery could take away from the ultimate goal: to maximize each patient’s safety and quality of results.
- Unhealthy motives for getting plastic surgery. For the millions of followers that Dr. Miami has accrued, there may be mistaken perceptions of what plastic surgery actually is. It shouldn’t be a way of getting “famous” by being featured on a celebrity social media account. Instead, the decision to undergo any type of cosmetic surgery should be well thought out and for the right reasons.
- Unrealistic expectations of results. Some of Dr. Miami’s most popular pictures are the after-tummy-tuck pose he Snaps after each procedure, in which he holds up the bag of fat that’s been removed from the patient. While this may depict a true image of surgery, it may also give viewers an unrealistic idea of what results they could expect from the same procedure themselves. No two people are guaranteed to achieve the same results, and Dr. Miami’s peers worry that these “shock value” Snaps may promote the wrong idea.
Is There Anything Positive about Social Media’s Role in Plastic Surgery?
While there’s been plenty of backlash against the famous surgeon, there are also those who feel that Dr. Miami may be doing some positive things for plastic surgery in general and for individuals considering it. These include:
- Making plastic surgery seem more mainstream and accessible. Dr. Miami maintains a fun and relaxed attitude in his Snaps. Perhaps his ability to bridge social media and plastic surgery may help others to realize that these procedures are socially acceptable and more accessible than ever before. Viewers may see that they’re not at all alone if they’re considering a breast augmentation, tummy tuck, or other procedure featured on his Snapchat.
- Depicting a very realistic image of what’s involved in plastic surgery. There are mixed feelings about Snapchat’s place in the operating room. However, one side of the argument is that this authentic view of what cosmetic surgery involves could help educate viewers. Potential patients can see what’s involved in these procedures and make better informed decisions.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re a Dr. Miami fan or skeptic, the most important aspect of any cosmetic procedure is to work with someone who is reputable and with whom you feel comfortable. Your plastic surgeon should have experience performing the procedure you want, and should be able to custom-tailor it to meet your needs and goals.
At Premier Plastic Surgery & Dermatology in Pittsburgh and Wexford, our board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Heil has been rated in the top 10% of Pittsburgh plastic surgeons. His training, expertise, and attention to detail make Dr. Heil a leader in his field. If you’re considering plastic surgery and would like more information about your procedure, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Heil, please contact us at 724-264-3608 and we would be happy to assist you.