With a raging virus, a collapsing economy, and a country more divided than ever, what have Americans turned to? Religion, philosophy, social activism? For many people, the answer is cosmetic surgery.
While it might seem that spending months at home would make people less interested in how they look, the opposite seems to be true. With so much time for introspection – and the shock of seeing their own mistaken images in remote meetings – many have decided that a pandemic is the perfect time to refresh their faces and reshape their bodies.
The increase in the number of procedures has surprised many plastic surgeons. When the virus skyrocketed last spring, all elective surgeries were closed. As their offices were closed, plastic surgeons began planning new Covid-19 safety protocols. Still, many wondered if patients would return when the ban was lifted. Sarasota plastic surgeon Dr Alissa Shulman, chairman of the board of the Florida Society of Plastic Surgeons, said the mood was “pure panic” at remote board meetings in March and April. .
But when Shulman’s office reopened in May, calls started pouring in. “Everyone seems to be busier,” she says. “I’m ridiculously busy.” Shulman, who performs cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries under the neck, says, “I’m up 50% for cosmetic surgeries, including giant multiple surgeries. These could include a breast lift, liposuction, and tummy tuck, which is four to six hour surgery.
This increase is happening nationwide, confirms Dr. Lynn Jeffers, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. “Overall, our members are reporting an increase in plastic surgery,” she says. This includes both invasive and non-invasive procedures.
What is driving the increase? “We have a lot of time to sit down and think,” says Jeffers. “I know I have. And people say, “It’s time to do something for me. And I can recover at home. No one needs to know.
Dr. David Mobley of Sarasota Plastic Surgery agrees. “People are sitting looking in the mirror,” he says. And they’re not always happy with what they see, especially in remote meetings, where they look at their faces, shot in harsh lighting and at an unflattering angle. “We’re all looking at the camera,” Mobley says. “Not many people over the age of 20 can do this and be happy with what they see.”
One of Mobley’s patients, CEO of a large Sarasota company, was leading a Zoom call with her employees when she noticed a strange face in one of the small squares on the screen. Wondering who this woman with the drooping chin and wrinkled neck was, she realized she was looking at herself. A few weeks later, she underwent a facelift.
The pandemic has sparked a plethora of self-improvement projects, from home renovations to bodybuilding. Mobley thinks it’s not just because people have more time. Deciding to achieve a personal goal, whether it’s mastering bread-making or having a tummy tuck, is also a way to cope with the dislocation and stress of the virus.
“You can’t control the pandemic or your working life,” he says. “It gives you something to control and feel good with. “
Sarasota’s demographics are likely to escalate the trend, he adds: “The Sarasotans are a resilient bunch. We have a lot of outperformers, and they don’t let much get in our way. “
Mobley’s business has grown 10-15% in recent months. “It may not seem like much, but when you are already doing a lot of procedures, it is important,” he says. “This fall has been the busiest we have had in my career. “
Facials and facelifts have increased the most in her practice, followed by breast augmentation, liposuction, tummy tucks and eyelid surgeries. Breast lifts are also popular. Non-invasive procedures, like Botox, facial fillers, and CoolSculpting, are also on the increase and now account for 30% of their work.
Cosmetic procedures can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to well over $ 20,000, and they are not covered by insurance. But as millions of Americans have lost their jobs and struggle financially, many white-collar workers and retirees – two groups that make up the bulk of cosmetic surgery patients – have higher disposable incomes than ever before. They still have their jobs or their stock portfolios, and they spend a lot less on travel, restaurants, shopping, and entertainment. They can afford to seek treatment with cosmetic surgery. Some patients have even told doctors in Sarasota that they are spending their stimulus checks on their procedures.
One of Mobley’s patients, a 58-year-old real estate marketing executive named Audrey (she prefers not to use her last name), funded her lower face lift, facial fat transplant and CO2 laser resurfacing. , which cost a total of over $ 20,000, with the proceeds of a real estate transaction.
“I work hard to exercise and stay in pretty good shape, and I wanted the face to match my body,” she says. In addition, she adds, her daughter could marry in the next few years. “I want to look better at the wedding than my ex-husband’s new wife,” she says.
The closure provided the perfect opportunity. “I took three sick days to recover, then I worked from home,” says Audrey. Although she was swollen, bruised, and scaly for almost three weeks, no one at work was any better. “We have Zoom conferences a few times a week, but no one turns on the camera,” she says.
And because so many people now wear masks, Audrey was able to get to the grocery store even before she had fully recovered. “It all really fell into place,” she says.
Sandra Day of Neoderm Aesthetics performs a variety of non-invasive skin care. She says neither the costs nor the coronavirus are slowing her business. Despite investing in hospital-grade PPE and equipment, including an air purifier that kills viruses, and scheduling fewer appointments so she can disinfect her treatment room between patients, Day says his results have increased.
“Masks cover a multitude of sins,” she says, and clients use them to mask the effects of procedures like chemical peels, which previously required several days of downtime. She also does more treatments for the chest and hands, both of which are exposed during Zoom calls. “We’re not just talking heads on these calls,” she says. “People speak with their hands. “
Many of her clients also request soothing procedures like enzyme facials. “We’ve isolated ourselves in so many ways that we miss that sense of touch,” she says.
Regardless of their age, Day says, “People yearn for a sense of normalcy. Women in walkers and oxygen come to see me. They have lost so much, all arts and activities are closed. They don’t change that part of their lifestyle.