Cosmetic surgery spikes during COVID
I’ve noticed for several weeks that patients are seeking cosmetic brow and eyelid surgery in higher numbers than average. Patients have confirmed that remote meetings such as Zoom have given them a perspective on their face they had not appreciated before in a mirror alone. There’s something about sharing their face with others that draws their attention and chagrin to their appearance. Patients are also seeking improvement in their lower face with neck lifts and facelifts; however, because brow and eyelid surgery typically offer an easier recovery time than neck lift and facelift surgery, and also because patients know that at least in the real world they are covering their lower face with a mask, surgery on their upper face may be the chief priority. An additional reason is there is something about Zoom that exposes more than Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media platforms. Not only does Zoom not offer the filters that the other platforms offer, but often the meetings are more of a business or serious nature, among respected peers.
In an article by Lisa Gutierrez in the Kansas City Star, she makes these very points! She describes a story about Heather Schwedel, who works for the online magazine, Slate. Schwedel relays that at one of her Zoom meetings, “a gargoyle” stared back at her from her laptop screen. It was her face, which somehow looked a “dull shade of greige (you know, gray-beige).” “And, was one of her eyes ‘wonky?’” Schwedel says further, “I don’t think it’s especially vain of me or anyone else to worry about my on-camera grotesquery; video conferencing awakens the vanity in all of us.”
Upper face surgery remains so popular for the reasons mentioned above; it’s above your mask, and the downtime and recovery are more palatable. A cosmetic upper eyelid blepharoplasty requires 3-7days of downtime typically. Cosmetic lower eyelid surgery requires approximately 7-10 days of downtime, and that’s about the same for a brow lift. An excellent adjunct to upper or lower facial surgery, is laser skin resurfacing. There is nothing like knocking away the mottled pigmentation and/or sallow look from a patient’s face! If you’re having the downtime anyway, why not combine upper face surgery with full face skin resurfacing with extra treatment to the area between your brows and to those deep wrinkles around your mouth?! You have to be recovering anyway, right?!
In my opinion, although remote meetings may decrease after we have a better handle on COVID-19, they are certainly not going anywhere; the savings for businesses and individuals is simply too great for remote meetings not to become a fixture of our society. People want to look good and feel good for their meetings; and, of course, good feelings translate to real life!
Wade Brock, MD, FACS