YouTube Found to Be Misleading for Facial Surgery Information
A US study that evaluated YouTube videos on facial plastic surgery has found that most videos are misleading and not educational.
This was the first study to evaluate YouTube content about facial surgery procedures.
It also encompasses procedures to reconstruct the face following an injury, disease or birth defect. This can include cleft lip or palate repair, nasal obstruction, facial fracture repair and scar revision.
Millions of views
Many people who are considering plastic or cosmetic surgery may turn to the internet to find out more about the procedures. During the last decade, the number of videos about surgical procedures has multiplied, and some receive hundreds of millions of views.
YouTube videos include those documenting the procedures, those telling patients’ experiences and those with medical commentary.
In light of the growing prevalence of YouTube as a source of medical information, researchers from Rutgers University in New Jersey, US, decided to evaluate the quality and accuracy of these videos.
The 240 top-viewed videos were evaluated. These videos had 160 million combined views that resulted from keyword searches for ‘blepharoplasty’, ‘eyelid surgery’, ‘dermal fillers’, ‘facial fillers’, ‘otoplasty’, ‘ear surgery’, ‘rhytidectomy’, ‘facelift’, ‘lip augmentation’, ‘lip fillers’, ‘rhinoplasty’ and/or ‘nose job’.
The researchers used a questionnaire which assesses the quality of information on treatment choices, taking into account risks, options presented and the validity of the information. They also evaluated whether the people posting the videos were healthcare professionals, patients or third parties.
The evaluation found that the majority of videos did not include professionals qualified in the procedures that were portrayed. Of the 240 videos, 94 did not feature any medical professional at all.
The majority of videos were found to be ‘misleading marketing campaigns’ that do not include the risks or alternative options, according to the researchers, who published their findings in the journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.
Lead author Boris Paskhover said: “Patients and physicians who use YouTube for educational purposes should be aware that these videos can present biased information, be unbalanced when evaluating risks versus benefits and be unclear about the qualifications of the practitioner.”
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