TikTok is a short-form video social media platform created in 2016 that has rapidly grown in popularity. The aim of this study was to examine trending plastic surgery videos on TikTok and to understand the dynamics of the #PlasticSurgery conversation on this relatively new social media platform.
A prospective analysis of TikTok videos identified by directly querying the platform using #PlasticSurgery was performed during November of 2020. Top trending videos at time of data collection, defined as having more than 100,000 likes, were included. Videos were analyzed for user credentials, video engagement (number of views, likes, shares, and comments), associated hashtags, and video purpose and content.
The top 376 trending videos were viewed a total of 1,680,910,700 times at time of analysis. Videos made by board-certified plastic surgeons were, on average, more popular than videos made by non–plastic surgeons [490.4 versus 378.6 million likes (P = 0.006); 5.1 versus 3.8 billion views (P = 0.046)]. The most popular procedures featured were augmentation mammaplasty (531,143,800 views; 42,825,400 likes), followed by body contouring procedures such as liposuction and abdominoplasty (276,810,500 views; 22,362,000 likes) and rhinoplasty (243,724,100 views; 27,588,200 likes). Educational videos on average had significantly higher levels of engagement than entertainment-focused videos [549,336 versus 340,163 likes (P = 0.002); 6.3 versus 2.9 million views (P < 0.001)].
Videos about plastic surgery, particularly educational videos by board-certified plastic surgeons, perform exceptionally well on the TikTok platform. TikTok presents an opportunity for plastic surgeons to educate patients about plastic surgery procedures and to present themselves as board-certified plastic surgeons.