An unexpected side effect of COVID-19: A surge in cosmetic procedures

Woman laying on stomach

-by Lauren Andreacchi, Patient Consultant for Dr. William J. Koenig, double board-certified plastic surgeon

This blog is not intended to ignore or diminish the ongoing health and financial difficulties that many are facing due to COVID-19.  Rather, it’s sole focus is on the trends that we are seeing in our practice in regards to continued and increased interest in cosmetic procedures during this new, unchartered season.

Where we were

As we sat in an all-staff virtual meeting in May, just months into the pandemic and while our physical office was closed, the question at the forefront of all of our minds was how patients would react to coming to our practice amidst COVID.  We had been brainstorming and putting into place everything we would need, and more, to open our doors again.  We were holding ourselves accountable to the highest standards of safety when it came to staff and patient protocols, having employees screen patients before entering the building, adding plexiglass and air purifiers everywhere we could place them throughout the building, deep cleaning around the clock, and ensuring we had an abundance of PPE.  You name it, we tried to think of it. 

But our concerns still nagged us; would these measures be enough to make patients feel safe?  Would they even care about plastic surgery amidst all of the unknowns we face as a nation? 

Fast forward to today

It is November, and our practice has never been busier.  Dr. Koenig, a partner in the practice who specializes exclusively in breast and body cosmetic surgery, has had some of the busiest months of his entire, 26-year career.  Historically he typically books about six weeks out for surgery, but he is now booking into February and March.*

Now we all have a different question: how did we get here?  The answer is that we don’t quite know as we are not well-versed in plastic surgery demand during pandemics.  We do have a theory though, and that is that patients now have time.  Time that they did not have before and that they have now been forced to take.  Many usually have hectic work schedules that include a significant amount of travel.  Their kids are in multiple sports, academic clubs, and have never-ending social commitments.  When they find any time for themselves, they usually have a vacation scheduled.  But that has all come to a screeching halt.

Many of our patients are now working from home; they are not traveling for work.  Their kids are home; sports schedules are either cancelled or extremely limited.  Vacations aren’t happening.  People finally have the time to recover from surgery, privately, without rushing back into the office or to social commitments. 

Where we’ve seen the demand

Tummy tuck and mommy makeover surgeries are where we are seeing the biggest increases in patient demand.  They are usually the most “disruptive” procedures as they require the most downtime.  Most of these patients are taking one week off of work and then returning virtually after.  For breast enhancement surgeries and liposuction, patients can resume their virtual work within just a few days of the procedure.

While we never expected this to be such an ideal time for many patients to have surgery, we have seen many patients benefit during their recovery from a more “relaxed” schedule.  Having surgery at this time isn’t forcing them to miss a lot, which is something our busy patients often struggle with the most when it comes to finding the ideal time to schedule surgery.

Continuing to move forward – safely

As always, safety is our number one priority, and we put that at the forefront of all of these procedures.  All patients have advanced health checks prior to their visit and before they enter the building.  Patients are also required to have a COVID test five days prior to surgery and are strongly encouraged to quarantine until the day of surgery.  We are held to the highest of standards because we have an on-site AAAHC ambulatory surgery center, and we believe our staff and patients have all benefitted from these stringent safety protocols.  They have allowed us to stay safe and continue to offer our services to those who are taking advantage of these changes to pursue the cosmetic procedures they’ve been wanting.

If you are interested in learning whether this is a good time for you to pursue cosmetic surgery, please call our office at 585.244.1000 to speak to a Patient Consultant.  They will be able to discuss how certain procedures fit with your job requirements and schedule and create the best plan for you

*Some patients are eager to have surgery sooner than these dates.  We have a move-up list available and actively use this when other patients move their procedure dates.  Many of our patients are able to get in earlier than the original date they were provided.

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