YouTube is a bad place to go for advice on plastic surgery, study finds

A table with surgical implements.
Those giving advice were likely to be biased and gloss over the risks. Photo credit: Getty

A study has found YouTube is a poor source for advice on plastic surgery as the people giving it are often unqualified and biased.

Scientists from the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School looked at 240 videos discussing a range of cosmetic surgery procedures including facial fillers, lip augmentations and nose jobs.

Each video was assessed against the DISCERN criteria for evaluating consumer health information and scored between one and five. A higher number means the information is better quality.

The average score from all of the procedures worked out to be 2.21, with ear surgery scoring the lowest at 1.55 and blepharoplasty (double eyelid surgery) the highest at 2.75.

The study authors said it was clear that YouTube was a popular place for advice on plastic surgery, but it rarely came from qualified or unbiased experts.

"YouTube videos can present biased information, be unbalanced when evaluating risks vs benefits, and be unclear about the qualifications of the practitioner," the study said.

"Most videos did not include qualified medical professionals to verify accuracy. The videos with the highest DISCERN scores and most patient utility are often from specialty-related, board-certified physicians."

People who viewed the videos should keep the possibility of a bias in mind when watching and be prepared to speak to an unbiased specialist about their concerns, the study recommended.


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