When Instagram serves as a showcase for cosmetic surgeons

A few days ago, for the purposes of an article on young people who have had cosmetic surgery (read The cross of 18 November 2021), I take a tour on Instagram, hoping to find followers. I was “served”. On my screen, dozens and dozens of photos were displayed: a breast before and after implantation of breast prostheses (it was rather small, here it is generous), a nose before and after rhinoplasty (it was a little hooked, it became perfectly straight), stomachs before and after liposuction (they were a little soft, they are now “tonic”) …

Women barely 20 years old who have their lips plumped or their waistlines reduced to correspond to an idea of ​​beauty often conveyed by social networks and reality TV, that questions. But what is even more surprising is that some of these photos are published by the surgeons themselves, on Instagram accounts which serve them no more and no less as showcases.

Here, a doctor from the west of Paris praises the merits of blepharoplasty, an operation replacing drooping eyelids with “a brand new look”. There, another praised the effects of “lip lift”. “Formerly reserved for lips elongated by age, (this technique) is popular with younger and younger patients. Cause nothing is sexier than a short upper lip (discovering) the upper teeth ”, affirms the practitioner, inviting Internet users to contact him “For any request for information”.

Let us also quote this surgeon who poses in “selfie”, smile on the lips and syringe in the hand. “Ready for a hyaluronic acid injection?” “, she says in the caption. Note that it offers a whole lot of other services, breast implantation in “dual plan” – “An operation which gives complete satisfaction to the majority of patients”, she promises -, to the sessions of botox injections “In 15 minutes. Mark your calendars! “

This kind of posting is not only ethically questionable, it is also illegal. At least in part. Until recently, article 19 of the Public Health Code imposed the prohibition “General and absolute” from any medical advertising. Since a decree of December 22, 2020, the conditions have been relaxed in order to comply with European law. If advertising for commercial purposes remains prohibited, any practitioner is entitled to ” communicate “ information to the public relating to its “Professional skills and practices, his professional career and the conditions of his exercise”.

From communication to advertising, the border is thin … And quickly crossed. Reading the comments of subscribers, the influence of these photos on their perception of cosmetic surgery is not in doubt. “Bravo Doctor”, ” Gorgeous “, ” very nice job “, they applaud, asking who of the price, who of the duration of the intervention. The prize for the barely disguised publicity undoubtedly goes to this surgeon who, via a “Exceptional competition” organized by him, offers to offer six Internet users a ticket for a consultation of cosmetic surgery in his office. Advertising ? But no, a simple raffle!


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