Social Media has gained so much traction in this modern age and has driven many people to consider what is acceptable in regards to physical appearance and image. What social media posts do not show is that the typical social media influencer or ‘guru’ takes many photos in order to find that ‘1’ photo to post on their social media platform that depicts them as ‘perfect’. These images have sometimes had filters and other effects applied to make the image appear very beautiful and perfect – but not always realistic. It also means that many patients that spend a lot of time on social media do not realise that the images they often seeing are not a realistic image of the actual person.  The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has now introduced strict guidelines for advertising in medicine and lifestyle photos, patient selfies are not permitted on public advertising.

Medical photography, unlike social media, uses a professional camera with pre set settings, protocols and surroundings, that are programmed to produce standardised and reproducible photography. This enables a practice to have before and after photographs for patients proceeding with surgery or procedures.

Selfies or non medical photography can be useful for patients that wish to send a photo from home or an interstate or overseas site in order to ascertain some idea of what condition or recovery a patient is experiencing. However, these are not medical standard photographs and do not provide an exact representation.

There have been articles published about the problems with ‘selfie’ photographs and distorted images due to concavity of lenses, proximity of camera and other photographic issues with the photograph being a true representation of the issue.

Our plastic surgeon, Dr Craig Layt, recommends our patients attend all post operative and review appointments to have their medical photography taken and to be fully involved in their surgical journey, including their recovery and long term reviews.