What Do Social Media Say About Makeovers? A Content Analysis of Cosmetic Surgery Videos and Viewers' Responses on YouTube

Health Commun. 2015;30(9):933-42. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2014.913220. Epub 2014 Sep 25.


This study examines portrayals of cosmetic surgery on YouTube, where we found a substantial number of cosmetic surgery videos. Most of the videos came from cosmetic surgeons who appeared to be aggressively using social media in their practices. Except for videos that explained cosmetic surgery procedures, most videos in our sample emphasized the benefits of cosmetic surgery, and only a small number of the videos addressed the involved risks. We also found that tactics of persuasive communication-namely, related to message source and message sensation value (MSV)-have been used in Web-based social media to attract viewers' attention and interests. Expert sources were used predominantly, although typical-consumer sources tended to generate greater viewer interest in cosmetic surgery than other types of message sources. High MSV, moreover, was found to increase a video's popularity.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Persuasive Communication
  • Risk Assessment
  • Social Media*
  • Surgery, Plastic*
  • Videotape Recording / statistics & numerical data*