In 2020, cosmetic surgeons saw a rapid and unprecedented increase in patients. New clients were on waitlists months in advance of their appointments. From 2000 to 2019, plastic surgery increased substantially as society gradually replaced stigma with acceptance. However, 2020 saw the most significant increase compared to any other year. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, here are the five cosmetic surgeries that have become more popular — than ever before.
- BOTOX®: Facial wrinkles form via constant movements, such as lifting your eyebrows in surprise. BOTOX® temporarily stops muscles from contracting, softening the wrinkles and creases in that area. BOTOX® treatments saw a 64% increase during the pandemic, according to The American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
- Breast Augmentation: Breast augmentation can improve self-confidence and help women feel more comfortable about their bodies. The breasts are restored to a more youthful, or larger shape and size. Breast augmentation uses saline, standard silicone, or highly cohesive silicone placed into the chest to create a fuller, lifted appearance. Breast augmentation increased by 44% during 2020.
- Soft Tissue Fillers: Soft tissue fillers, also known as dermal fillers, help create a smoother, youthful appearance around the nose, cheeks, lips, chin, and hands. They temporarily correct lines and replenish lost volume. Throughout 2020, procedures with soft tissue fillers increased by 37%.
- Liposuction: Liposuction creates a slimmer and smoother appearance by removing stubborn fat that exercise and diet fail to influence. Liposuction works best on the thighs, hips, abdomen, back, and upper arms. After liposuction, patients can expect to see lasting results in treated areas. The frequency of liposuction treatments increased by 30%.
- Abdominoplasty: Abdominoplasty, or a tummy tuck, removes overhanging skin and fat around the lower abdomen to create a thinner, tighter waist. There were 24% more abdominoplasty surgeries during 2020 than in previous years.
As waitlists for cosmetic surgery increase, more and more people wonder the same question: why has a pandemic caused a perceived spike in cosmetic surgery? This article has several reasons why both men and women have turned towards cosmetic surgery during a worldwide pandemic.
The same study by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons cited above found that 68% of plastic surgeons began seeing patients virtually, and 64% saw an increase in their telemedicine consultations during COVID-19. Because of the pandemic, virtual consultations are more popular and becoming mainstream.
A virtual consultation is when a medical provider uses live video, audio, or instant messaging to communicate with their patient. Plastic surgery patients can receive consultation over the phone without worrying about booking a physical appointment.
Virtual consultations may make it easier for potential patients to learn about the benefits of surgery before booking an in-person appointment. Patients can build a relationship with their cosmetic surgery provider over the phone and use virtual telemedicine appointments to discuss possible concerns.
Increased Downtime For Recovery
Due to COVID-19 concerns and restrictions, 44% of employees in the United States work five days a week from home. Working from home has become standard in some industries as employees are encouraged to stay home where it’s safer (as long as work productivity remains the same).
Working from home gives those recovering from surgeries more time to heal and makes it easier for recuperating patients to adhere to the surgeon’s recovery guidelines. While teleconferencing in work meetings, those recovering can hide bruises or wear masks for more privacy while they heal.
Diversion of Income
The pandemic has changed the way that some Americans are spending their money. Instead of saving up for an expensive vacation, lavish restaurant, or guilt-free shopping trip, people are staying home. The money they save not going out can be put towards feeling better about the way they look through invasive or noninvasive surgeries. The pandemic created a diversion of income where many people suddenly have the extra money to get the procedure they’ve always wanted.
The Zoom Boom
Front-facing cameras reveal insecurities many people have never noticed. Double chins, sagging skin, and undesired wrinkles are made more prominent by the computers’ web cameras. The increased popularity of Zoom and other teleconferencing apps has changed the way we see ourselves — making people more aware of the way they look.
Thousands of men and women have become more aware of how they look on camera. Self-consciousness might have led more people than ever to book virtual consultations with plastic surgeons to discuss possible fixes to wrinkles and sagging lines, often in the form of BOTOX®.
The frequent use of Zoom has caused digital dysmorphia. This is when people fixate on their faces for hours during video calls and wonder, “Has my nose always been like this?” or “When did I get so many wrinkles?” The constant fixation on themselves during teleconferencing has pushed people towards plastic surgeons to fix the things they never noticed before.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, four out of ten adults reported anxiety symptoms, compared to one in ten adults in 2019. The pandemic introduced a period of extreme uncertainty, confusion, and isolation. Friends and family couldn’t freely visit, and people were encouraged to stay indoors and avoid large gatherings. For many, these necessary restrictions increased anxiety, stress, and depression.
As new stress lines formed around the mouth and eyebrows, people sought out BOTOX® treatments to help them look and feel less anxious about the state of the world.
For others, the increase in stress led to an increase in weight. Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol, making the body crave more food and hold onto fat. Stress-related weight is often more challenging to get rid of, and many people during the pandemic turned to tummy tucks and liposuction to get rid of unwanted weight gain.
Cosmetic and plastic surgery facilities have stringent safety precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. These facilities put hours into disinfecting, screening employees, and ensuring patients and staff’s safety and comfort.
The increase in safety precautions has helped many to feel safer and more comfortable in cosmetic surgery offices. Those seeking services often feel like the office is safer than their home or local grocery store — the increased precautions have helped patients over their hesitations and encouraged them to visit the clinic for their procedures.