The Snapchat effect: trends in plastic surgery


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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Use of certain social media and photo editing applications may be linked with increased acceptance of cosmetic surgery, according to a new study published this week in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery

The study investigated the relationships between self-esteem and the use of social media and photo editing applications with cosmetic surgery attitudes among 252 people from the general population who responded to an online survey. 

It found social media investment had a positive association with consideration of cosmetic surgery, with higher overall scores on the Acceptance of Cosmetic Surgery Scale in Tinder, Snapchat and/or Snapchat photo filter users. Increased consideration of cosmetic surgery, but not overall acceptance of surgery, was noted in users of VSCO and Instagram photo filters compared with nonusers. 

Participants who used YouTube, WhatsApp, VSCO and Photoshop had lower self-esteem scores than non-users. 

The finding comes at a time when surgeons are seeing patients with ‘Snapchat dysmorphia’ where patients present with filtered selfies to illustrate the desired surgical changes they are looking to achieve.

“These findings can help guide future patient-physician discussions regarding cosmetic surgery perceptions, which vary by social media or photo editing application use,” the authors concluded.