Signal Senior Staff Writer
There’s one industry regularly passed over when talk arises about businesses that might have seen a benefit from COVID-19.
There’s probably a reason for that in this case — if you didn’t notice it happening, you’re not as likely to find out about it, if it’s done right.
Whether it was due to more spare time, self-reflection or something else altogether, there was an uptick in interest about plastic surgery even as many medical procedures saw reductions due to COVID-19 concerns.
In a study published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a national organization that represents approximately 8,000 members, plastic surgery decreased overall during 2020 as a result of the 8.1-week average that plastic surgery clinics and practices were closed last year.
However, during that time, 11% of women surveyed indicated they are more interested in cosmetic plastic surgery or non-surgical procedures now than before COVID-19. The number is higher among women who have already had a surgery or procedure at approximately 24%.
“Also, 35% of women who have previously had at least one cosmetic surgical procedure or minimally invasive procedure plan to spend significantly or somewhat more on treatments in 2021 than in 2020,” read the study released earlier this year.
“For more than a year, COVID-19 has largely confined people to their homes during quarantine and significantly impacted nearly every aspect of their lives,” said Dr. Lynn Jeffers. “The pandemic isn’t over, but thanks to vaccines, a new normal is starting to define itself — and some surgeons’ offices that were closed or offered only limited services within the last year are seeing higher demand.”
“I do believe it is true that there has been a significant increase in cosmetic surgery since COVID kind of took over our world,” said Dr. Peter Grossman of Grossman Plastic Surgery. “I was surprised by that.”
Grossman said that he has personally seen a 20%-30% increase since the prior year under COVID, and while the answer is not clear cut as to why it’s happening, he said he had some theories.
“I can postulate as to why I think it is, and I think one is we’re living on camera these days,” said Grossman. “People are seeing their face on their Zoom calls, and not everybody is liking what they’re seeing. And prior to that, we’d see our face in the morning and we see our face in the evening in the mirror. But we didn’t see it as much.”
He also added he believes people also think that because much of the work transitioned from an office place to a home environment, people have a better ability to recuperate from surgeries.
“At home, they’re able to still do some work via Zoom or WebEx or however they’re doing their work,” said Grossman. “They could do an elective surgery that otherwise would have required time away from an office or work setting.”
The final thing, according to Grossman, was that some people experienced some economic benefit from the government during the pandemic that gave them an ability to pay for elective procedures that they otherwise would not.
“That’s more of my impression, but I think that those three factors have played a role in people having more cosmetic surgeries,” said Grossman.
According to Grossman, a number of surgeries — both commonplace and cutting edge — have become more and more frequent among his patients.
“There’s some of the more standard surgeries that were aware of: facelifts, tummy tucks, nose jobs, breast augmentation, breast reductions,” said Grossman. “And then there’s some advanced technology procedures that have come into play.”
According to American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the top-five cosmetic surgical procedures around the country last year were as follows:
- Nose reshaping (352,555 procedures)
- Eyelid surgery (352,112 procedures)
- Facelift (234,374 procedures)
- Liposuction (211,067 procedures)
- Breast augmentation (193,073 procedures)
Grossman said that people should be wary however of surgeons that talk high tech or cutting edge when the science is not exactly there yet, or the benefits are minimal when compared to other, more traditional surgeries.
“There’s a lot of high-tech things that are out there — lasers, radio-frequency devices, etc. — that do have some benefit, but the hype is a lot greater than the efficacy,” Grossman explained.
“For example, a facelift: If our skin is hanging and we’ve got jowls and prominent folds between the corners of our nose and the corners of our mouth and a turkey neck that hangs down, lasers and radio frequency devices and ultrasound devices are not going to get rid of those,” said Grossman. “They’re not a substitute from some of the standard procedures like a facelift, but they do work well in those patients who are just starting to show some signs of aging and aren’t really ready to have a bigger procedure.”
Grossman said that while there is some stigma that exists around plastic surgery, he said that the benefits of having a “healthy level of vanity” by looking into the mirror and liking what you see.
“You look in the mirror and you don’t like what you see, you tend to get depressed, you tend not to exercise, you tend to not take care of yourself, and it has a downward, negative effect,” said Grossman. “On the other hand, if you like what you see, you tend to be a little bit more upbeat, a little bit more physically fit.”