I’m Addicted to the Gruesome and Beautiful Photographs on Figure 1, an Instagram for Doctors 

Ben Popper, for The Verge:

Popular posts on Figure 1 typically have hundreds of comments and favorites. The service also has its equivalent of the uplifting, inspirational messages you often see on Pinterest and Instagram. One of the most popular photos uploaded to Figure 1 is a tiny heart being cradled in the palm of a hand, about to be transplanted into a 13-month-old patient. It’s a bittersweet moment, given that it required a donor, but one that left commenters with a sense of joy at the power and progress of medicine, something to restore their faith in the profession amidst all the trauma. “I am so moved by this picture. What a powerful gift,” wrote one commenter. “This is why I love the medical field.”

I tried the app a few years ago[1], but haven’t used it since. In its infancy, it didn’t even offer me the option to call myself a dentist—I had to masquerade as a physician. Now, though, the service is much more mature, and has all the features necessary for a social network. Figure 1 is just past the ‘startup’ stage, but not fully on the level of Instagram or Twitter, having ‘only’ some “hundreds of thousands of active users”. Still, the novel service has the potential to change the way health professionals practice their craft.

Their oral and maxillofacial section is my favorite, chalk full of interesting pathological and surgical problems of the head/neck region.

And, occasionally, not so interesting cases:

Silly medical folk
Silly medical folk

As Popper notes, you don’t have to be a medical professional to find the app interesting. Indeed, sometimes it’s fun to just look at gross stuff. And trust me, there are plenty of gross things to look at in the health field.

  1. Find me on Figure 1 at TheToothCarpenter.