When the pandemic hit six months ago, none of us knew how this would affect our lives and our businesses. The outlook seemed pretty bleak, and it has proved to be such for many businesses.
As a plastic surgeon, I would not have expected to see the demand for plastic surgery to rise, but that is exactly what has happened. Elective plastic surgery is up worldwide.
We have noted this phenomenon here in Knoxville, and recently I was interviewed by WVLT News about the reasons this is happening.
1. The Time Out of The Office
When I discuss a specific operation with a patient, the greatest obstacle to setting this up is the time off from work to have the surgery and recover from it. This, for most people, is a greater concern than the cost of surgery.
For instance, if a patient is planning on having a tummy tuck, she will generally need to be off from work for three weeks, sometimes longer if she does a lot of heavy lifting. Finding the time for this can be quite problematic, leading people to use vacation time or breaks in the work schedules over holiday seasons.
However, with the Covid-19 pandemic, many people are working remotely, and others have been off work completely. This has made their schedules more flexible and given them greater options for recovering from surgery. While working from home, they can work for an hour or two and rest as they need to. Thus, they can begin to do some work from home sooner than they would be able to return to their work on a full-time basis. This has allowed many patients to finesse their schedules to accommodate recovery from surgery and their work (on a limited basis) at the same time.
Also, working from home helps patients when they are concerned about not looking their best while recovering from surgery. Because they are out of sight, there is a lot less of the “what happened to you?” type questions. This allows for a more comfortable and discrete recovery.
2. The Mask Factor
Strangely enough, our non-surgical aesthetic procedures are rising due to facemasks. It stands to reason that interest in Botox for the forehead, glabellar, and crow’s feet area is high because the eyes and forehead are pretty much all you see when wearing a mask.
What is surprising is the dramatic increase in lip fillers. Patients find this the ideal time to shape and plump their lips because facemasks will cover any swelling.
Skin care is also booming largely because of “maskne” — acne caused by having to wear a mask regularly. When you wear masks all day long, every day, the mask’s friction irritates and traps bacteria on your skin. This has been such an issue for our patients — and staff — that our Aesthetician Christy Ledford, recently wrote a blog about how to prevent it.
3. The “Zoom Boom”
Another thing driving the increase in surgery is people’s perceptions of how they look on video calls, which is a new experience for most of us. When we are on a call, we spend as much time looking at ourselves as we do looking at others, which never happens with face to face meetings. This has definitely led to a bump in skin care product sales, skin care procedures, and Botox and filler injections.
One peculiar thing that people notice is the dreaded “tech neck,” or how their neck looks when doing a video call on their phone or tablet. This is not limited to women. I have had more than one guy come in wanting a neck lift because of how he thought his neck appeared on such calls. The problem, though, was not with the neck but with the camera angle. When the camera is below our gaze level, we need to look down to see our device, and by bending our neck to do this, wrinkles appear.
However, when these guys hold their head in neutral gaze, the neck looks good. So the solution is to raise the camera angle, so they don’t have to look down. A much easier fix than a neck lift!
All the best,
David B. Reath, MD
PS: Here’s the interview with WVLT.
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