Influencer Used Patient’s Before & After Surgery Pictures to Sell Home Workout Program

by Surgical Times

Diary of a Fit Mommy founder Sia Cooper used a cosmetic surgery patient’s diastasis recti surgery before-and-after result pictures to promote and sell her “12 Week Diastasis Recti Home Workout Plan.”

In November 2021, a friend of the former cosmetic surgery patient noticed that Cooper, a fitness influencer with more than a million Instagram followers, was using a before/after surgery image to advertise her $50 workout program, posting the misleading image to her blog, and her Instagram and Pinterest accounts.

In a letter of apology to her followers titled “We Need to Talk,” Cooper writes that she first discovered the image when searching Google for diastasis recti repair, but “didnt know whom owned the image (or else I would have credited them). [sic]”

“I found it here,” she writes, linking to a website that is no longer live. The image still appears on 22 virtually identical websites selling various products.

In each instance seen by Surgical Times, the image previously used by Cooper was accompanied by the title “How To Pay For Diastasis Recti Surgery,” and does not appear to have an actual product linked to it available for purchase.

Ironically, one of Cooper’s own images has also been usurped and is used by many of these same websites to falsely advertise a different product that she likewise is unaffiliated with.

Here again, the faux product entry isn’t actually linked to a product for sale, but merely pulls headline text and an image from another’s website to create a mock entry, likely to scam consumers or to increase traffic to valid product entries.

The image misleadingly used by Cooper to promote an at-home workout-based approach to repairing diastasis recti belongs to patient Lisa Schader, a financial coach who shared it to her own website in July 2020. Ashley Nowe of Get Mom Strong initially brought the misuse of the image to Schader’s attention.

While reader comments on concerned social media posts from both influencers eventually “descended into a toxic vortex,” and were subsequently turned off, the pair was able to agree on a resolution that involved each of them donating to a nonprofit and Cooper of @diaryofafitmommyofficial providing course refunds if requested.

Had the parties involved not been public figures—who each routinely publish on various aspects of their personal lives—use of the image to inaccurately advertise the results of an at-home workout-based approach to DR repair may have lasted longer.

This incident is discussed on Season 4, Episode 1 of Plastic Surgery Uncensored, a podcast hosted by Dr. Rady Rahban. The episode, “Avoiding Diastasis Scams with Guest Lisa Schader,” aired Wednesday, January 12.

Surgical Times reached out to both parties involved for comment.

Surgical Times provides objective public interest reporting on the practice of plastic surgery and is not affiliated with or funded by any surgeon or practice.