YouTube videos have quality issues with information about cosmetic injectables

News — February 28, 2022YouTube videos are the popular choice for online information about Botox and soft tissue fillers – but these videos have ongoing problems with the quality of the information provided, reports a study in the March issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Physician-produced videos are a better source of information than patient-based videos, according to new research led by ASPS surgeon member Robert D. Galiano, MD, of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. , Chicago, and colleagues. Dr. Galiano comments: “Our study shows the need to improve the quality of YouTube videos related to cosmetic injectables, and plastic surgeons – already the most frequent contributors to online videos – are the most qualified to meet this need. “

Patient-created videos ‘shouldn’t be recommended’ for information on injectables

The administration of “injectables” is the most common minimally invasive cosmetic procedure performed by plastic surgeons. According to SSPA statisticsinjection of botulinum toxin type A (better known by the brand name Botox) was performed over 4.4 million times in 2020, while hyaluronic acid injection and other dermal fillers has been played over 3.4 million times.

The explosive popularity of these procedures is largely due to social media and other platforms. In particular, YouTube has become an increasingly important source of online health information. YouTube videos provide “a unique opportunity for plastic surgeons to educate thousands of patients in a comprehensive and widely accessible way,” write Dr. Galiano and colleagues.

What is the quality of online information sources provided on cosmetic injectables? Researchers searched Google and YouTube to identify top-ranked websites and videos providing information about botulinum toxin type A and soft tissue fillers.

The analysis included 95 YouTube videos: 50 on soft tissue fillers and 45 on the type of botulinum toxin. Forty-seven percent of the videos were provided by plastic surgeons and other physicians, 6% by other healthcare professionals, 24% by patients, and 22% by other sources, such as media outlets. news, online magazines and social media influencers.

For each video and website, the information quality was assessed using three standard tools and a new content score. Consistent with previous studies of online health information, the quality of the videos showed room for improvement. According to the four measures, the videos did not meet more than half of the quality criteria.

The quality also varied depending on the source of the videos. Videos created by physicians, non-physician healthcare professionals, and other sources such as news media had significantly higher quality scores than patient-focused videos. In terms of content, patient-focused videos only met about 40% of the quality criteria, compared to 55% for physician-focused videos.

Although direct comparisons were difficult, the websites identified on Google search offered higher quality information than YouTube videos. Content scores were around 60% for injectable websites versus less than 40% for videos. Still, YouTube videos were more popular, averaging around 16,000 views per month, compared to less than 4,000 views per month for websites.

The results show that videos created by doctors provide more reliable information – similar to those created by other medical professionals as well as influencers, news channels and magazines. “By comparison, patient-created videos are of lower quality,” adds Dr. Galiano. “These patient-based videos, on YouTube or elsewhere, should not be recommended as sources of information about Botox or soft tissue fillers.”

YouTube’s popularity helps plastic surgeons understand where to focus their online presence – practice websites may not be as influential as videos. Dr. Galiano and his colleagues conclude, “YouTube can serve as an incredible asset for plastic surgeons to reach patients in a way that has never existed before, which comes with the responsibility to provide accurate, comprehensive and understandable.”

Click here to read “Websites vs. Videos: Which Provides Better Patient Information? A Comparative Analysis of the Quality of YouTube Videos and Websites for Cosmetic Injectables”

DOI: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000008827


Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

On Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

For more than 75 years, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® ( has always been the excellent reference for every specialist who uses plastic surgery techniques or works in collaboration with a plastic surgeon. The official journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® brings subscribers up-to-date reports on the latest techniques and follow-up for all areas of plastic and reconstructive surgery, including breast reconstruction, experimental studies, maxillofacial reconstruction, hand and microsurgery, burn repair and cosmetic surgery, as well as news on medico-legal issues.

About the ASP

the American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. Representing over 7,000 physician members, the society is recognized as a leading authority and source of information on aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises over 94% of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the society represents physicians certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

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Shirley K. Rosa