TikTok has become a leading platform for physicians and healthcare marketers as it’s quickly ascended to a level of viral popularity surpassing Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
However, it’s also a place where plastic surgeons have developed a following to explain some of the most popular procedures like face lifts, tummy tucks, nose jobs and Botox to their audience.
They were arguably some of the first in the medical field to embrace TikTok, according to a December 2021 report in the Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
“Plastic surgeons… can benefit from visual-based platforms and are frontrunners among physicians in the adoption of social media,” the authors wrote. “Board-certified plastic surgeons have the opportunity (and obligation) to be leaders in this domain. We can rectify misinformation from providers with lesser training and credentialling, and offer educational content catered to patient needs.”
It’s easy for sham physicians to amass followers on the platform, however, and a few of the most popular plastic surgery influencers have already been outed.
Daniel Aronov, who topped the list at 12.8 million followers, was banned from performing cosmetic procedures in Australia last year after reports of medical misconduct and botched surgeries at his clinic. Shortly after, he was forced to shut down his profiles and remove all social media posts related to surgery.
Still, many influencers remain on the platform, and there are some that appear to be legitimate and board-certified. Here are some of the most popular plastic surgeon influencers currently on the platform.
1. Anthony Youn
Anthony Youn considers himself “America’s holistic plastic surgeon,” and he’s perhaps one of the most popular on the platform, with over 8 million followers (anyone who’s scrolled on TikTok has seen this guy around).
Youn gained popularity with his “celebrity plastic surgery: real or sus?” videos, in which he guesses whether certain well-known figures have gotten plastic surgery or not.
In addition to explaining how certain cosmetic surgical procedures work, however, Youn often incorporates tips on a more “holistic approach” to self-care – such as noting he plans to do more yoga and meditating as he turns 50.
2. Daniel Barrett
While one would assume most plastic surgeons on social media aim to promote cosmetic procedures, Daniel Barrett stands a bit apart, as he dubs himself the “natural plastic surgeon.”
3. Richard J. Brown, or “TheRealTikTokDoc”
Richard J. Brown currently has 7.8 million followers on his TikTok, and brands his platform to “educate, entertain, inspire.”
Also known as DoctorRicky or “TheRealTikTokDoc,” Brown comments on plastic surgery videos floating around TikTok, explaining procedures or questioning whether they’re legitimate.
4. Catherine Huang-Begovic, or “Dr. Cat”
Dr. Cat, a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, has amassed more than half a million followers on her TikTok, where she posts day-in-the-life videos, as well as before and after examples of some of her patients.
However, she’s also known for offering thoughtful medical advice for people considering getting plastic surgery. In one video, she lists five important things to know before getting breast implants – such as the Food and Drug Administration recommending getting imaging every other year to check for leaks, and educating oneself about breast implant illness.
5. Charles Lee
Also based in Beverly Hills, Charles Lee’s TikTok platform features day-in-the-life videos from his office, including highlighting the roles of aesthetic nurse practitioners injecting Botox, or general staff fun. He’s also known for his plastic surgery gone wrong videos.
In one video, overlaying the theme to The Office, Lee highlights what it’s like working at his plastic surgery office — and honestly, we could see a show featuring them.
6. Michael Salzhauer, or “Dr. Miami”
The video stirred up enough controversy for Salzhauer to offer a disclaimer: “Guys I have no medical knowledge regarding Drake… this is based off a Twitter conspiracy of him having lip and a BBL.”
But Dr. Miami is also known for his funny quips and acting out plastic surgery situations.
7. Renus Repta
Renus Repta dubs himself as the “tummy tuck expert,” and primarily posts videos about working with plus-size patients.
While it’s not common for plastic surgeons to do tummy tucks on plus-size patients, in one video, Repta explains why and how they manage to do the procedures for that community.
“If you do the same surgery for a lower BMI or lower weight patient to a higher BMI or weight patient, there will be more complications. Data supports that,” Repta said. “However, you can still help high BMI patients… if you modify some of the ways you instruct patients, how you do their surgery, how you do their recovery. They can have a great result. They can benefit from that, feel better, feel lighter, both mentally and physically, and still do so safely.”
8. Prem Tripathi
It’s easy to get caught up in the shocking, sensational or hilarious TikTok videos featuring plastic surgery botches or miracle cures. But Prem Tripathi offers a bit of a much needed level-headed counter to that, by explaining why it’s important to focus on the basics of skincare – like applying sunscreen – before moving into cosmetic procedures.
He also suggests caution when it comes to starting plastic surgery.
“It’s so easy to get caught up in all these injectable procedures, these cosmetic procedures,” Tripathi said. “These things can get away from you, and before you know it, you start to look so much more different than you expected yourself to be, and you start to really lose sight as to why you’re doing things. Find a provider that can put you on a plan that’s aligned with your goals, and one that knows how to say no.”