Before I get started – yes, I do see the irony here. I wrote this blog post about avoiding social media for plastic surgery recovery advice, and what did I go and do? I posted it to several social media platforms. lol.
It is a fact that social media is king when it comes to reaching a large audience and getting your message out there. Honestly, it’s not social media itself that is the problem. It’s that there is no filter that allows you to only see information coming from a qualified source.
Social media platforms generally serve up the things that are the most flashy and attention-getting, not the information from the people who are qualified to speak on a subject from an educated perspective.
Now that is out of the way, let’s get down to business.
Why am I making this post?
I have people on my table every day who are nervous (or downright scared) because of things they have seen and read on social media.
Most of my sessions are spent talking people off a virtual ledge because they are so in their heads about what people have told them online. This can be from friends or people they do not know…it doesn’t matter. I hope that people who have had plastic surgery will read through this and find some comfort, because the things that go on in the social media realm are enough to make a person completely neurotic about their recovery.
In my personal experience as a licensed therapist who serves the plastic surgery recovery community, the number one worst thing that social media does is to spread around dangerous advice.
There exist posts and videos about how to reopen incisions for incisional drainage and how to drain your own seroma, for starters. This advice can be deadly. These are perfect ways to create rapid-spreading infections that can lead to sepsis (blood poisoning). In sepsis the organs can shut down and kill you in a matter of hours. It is no joke.
The people posting these “home remedies” for recovery are not medical professionals and have no liability if you end up harming yourself. And do people do these crazy things? ABSO-FREAKING-LUTEY!
The Culture of Fear, Shame, and Intimidation
Hop on any Facebook group about plastic surgery. Post a picture of yourself and ask a question about “Is this normal?” What you will get is a barage of bad advice from untrained, unlicensed people who will tell you that you are “Botched”, that you should ask for your money back, or that you are doing your post-op care wrong.
On the internet, anyone can say anything, and they will. There is almost some sort of sadistic pleasure that people take in scaring the crap out of others who are in a vulnerable state wondering if they are ok.
Why do they wonder if they are ok? Because of lack of concrete directions from their surgeons about the recovery process.
People LIE on social media. Point blank. I have seen countless Instagram posts of women claiming that they are 3 days post-op from a 360 lipo and BBL and they are in a bikini playing volleyball at the beach – or similar scenario. I’m sorry, but no. *IF* by chance this were true, which I’m pretty sure it isn’t, I’m certain that this is nowhere near the norm.
The ladies I see in my practice are usually barely able to waddle down the hallway and have a hard time getting on the table at 3 days post-op. They most certainly are not playing volleyball. They are draining everywhere and they feel and usually look terrible. That is
“Do You Want Fries With That?” – Upselling Unnecessary Services
If you have never worked retail, you may not be familiar with the term “upselling.” It means that if a person gets something at your store, you always want to add just one more thing. Upselling in and of itself isn’t wrong or unethical if the person is truly served by that extra item that a sales person suggests. That is good business – and good service.
However, there is a down side to upselling – when things are sold to people that they don’t need with the implied threat that if they don’t do these things that they will fail.
Do THIS many massages AND get cavitation AND get wood therapy OR you will have a bad result.
No. Do some people need additional things above and beyond lymphatic massage? Yes, that is true. *SOME* people, not everyone.
This is another side of the culture of fear and shame I was just discussing. You can sell better if you scare people. That’s basic marketing – appeal to the emotions, the strongest ones of which are fear and shame. I don’t know about everyone else, but to me personally this is highly unethical.
Each person is an individual and that person’s journey is unique. Might that person need some extra stuff like lumpy foam or radio frequency? It’s possible, but not everyone.
The social media platforms are full of this upselling.
Comparing Yourself to Others
comparing yourself to others. This is HUGE. I can’t emphasize enough how comparing yourself to someone else who has had plastic surgery is a TERRIBLE idea.
You are not that person. You don’t have their body. You don’t know what their state of health is. You don’t know exactly what was done in the operating room. Sure, you know they had 360 lipo, but what kind of lipo? What technique did the surgeon use? There are so, so many variables.
What’s Going on With
“Lymphatic Massage” on Social Media
What is happening in social media with the term “Lymphatic Massage” is exactly why you should generally avoid social media for your information about post op care.
Personally, I know very little about astrophysics. I have read a couple of books on the subject, but you could tell me something that is totally bogus, and I probably would not be the wiser.
Likewise, most people have never been taught anything about the lymphatic system before. They come across someone’s social media post where they are talking about some crazy form of bodywork, but call it “lymphatic massage.” The person, not having any training in lymphatics believes this person.
The person calling this other type of bodywork “lymphatic massage” may be doing it intentionally or because the person who trained them was untrained themselves and told them (incorrectly) that it was “lymphatic massage”. (This happens ALL THE TIME with untrained/unlicensed people teaching “lymphatic massage” courses around the country – but that is another article for another time.)
This information that the person getting the massage is incorrect, but how can that person know when they have never had any training in lymphatic work? The person doing the massage is a professional, after all, right?
Wrong. Lots of people in the post op world doing “lymphatic massage” are not even licensed!
Sadly, this is how the problem begins.
This person is dead wrong, but that’s what they believe because their so-called therapist called it “lymphatic massage”. This person goes on social media and makes a post about what she thinks “lymphatic massage” to be.
Over time, this person’s post gets shared – a lot. Interest in these so-called “lymphatic massages” grows.
People who have seen her post (or re-posting of that info) go to their local therapist and ask for “lymphatic massage”.
When they are given an actual lymphatic massage instead of what social media said it was, then they are upset that the therapist person is trying to con them. They accuse the therapist of lying to them and being uninformed, because they have ‘done their research’ about “lymphatic massage” and they know good and well what they are.
People who know what real lymphatic work is realize that what is portrayed as “lymphatic massage” is something totally different. Yes, it’s also a type of bodywork because someone is placing their hands on a body, but that does not make what they are doing true lymphatic work.
Calling Massage or Sculpting Techniques “Lymphatic” when they are absolutely not. Here’s a perfect example from popular media advertising something that is not lymphatic saying that it is. This is body sculpting – *not* lymphatic massage. There is nothing lymphatic about it – at all.