A new study by the Aesthetic Surgery Journal has found that using a smartphone for post-operative follow-ups and taking ‘selfies’, improved patients’ experience and helped to detect early complications.
Researchers studied the use of a smartphone-based post-operative follow-up protocol, where 57 plastic surgery patients sent their surgeons images from their smartphone of the treated area within 48-72 hours following surgery.
The surgeons text messaged their patients at discharge, instructing them on how and when to send them the post-operative images.
On the same day the pictures were sent, surgeons responded to review the progress. Patients then recorded their thoughts on the experience in a questionnaire. The report states that out of 52 patients surveyed, 50 (96.2%) indicated that they felt that the protocol improved their post-operative care experience. Additionally, the process alerted surgeons to three cases with early complications.
The study’s senior author and chairman of Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Plastic Surgery, Dr James Zins, said, “The point of the selfie programme is to make contact with the patient earlier than the usual follow-up visit that is within two to three days.” He added, “This is done for two reasons. One, to reassure the patient and allay any fears regarding early post-operative problems. And two, to possibly recognise problems early before they become more significant.”