The Pandemic Created a Perfect Storm for the Plastic Surgery Industry Amid the ‘Zoom Boom’ Phenomenon. Doctors Are Expecting Another Boom This Holiday Season.

Since the start of the pandemic, hundreds of industries and millions of companies have suffered from the flagrant lack of revenue, business, growth and normalcy as we used to know.

the pandemic created a perfect storm for the plastic surgery industry amid the 'zoom boom' phenomenon. doctors are expecting another boom this holiday season. Aekkarak Thongjiew / EyeEm | fake images

Spending time locked up in our homes with seemingly endless numbers of Zoom happy hours and video calls with loved ones glued to our phones and social media have made the last year and beyond one of the most self-critical moments when it comes to our appearance.

But for those familiar with the excessive observation and self-criticism that comes with staring at your face on a screen all day, this comes as no surprise at all.

Plastic surgeons and researchers have termed this phenomenon with non-invasive and surgical cosmetic procedures in a post-pandemic landscape as the “Zoom Boom,” directly correlating the increased interest in such procedures with the massive increase in screen time that the pandemic triggered.

“Many of my new and established patients encountered new problems while speaking on Zoom,” says board certified Dr. Dmitriy Schwarzburg of Skinly Aesthetics in New York City. “That was a common thread and a very common theme between them. Everyone comes in and says, ‘Hey, this is what I noticed that I didn’t notice before, but all this time that I spent in front of the camera, now I am extremely aware of it and I want to do something about it.

From a psychological perspective, the ‘Zoom Boom’ isn’t necessarily just a bad anxiety-inducing phenomenon.

“Actually, there are also some positive psychological benefits to seeing a bright, polished image of yourself on the screen,” says Dr. Chloe Carmichael, PhD, licensed clinical psychologist. “As an entrepreneur and psychologist, I actually start to think of our Zoom presentation as almost the post-pandemic equivalent of what corporations used to call ‘being presentable.’

Yet for many plastic surgeons, the pandemic has been, counterintuitively, one of the best things for business.

“The positive side of the pandemic is the positive effect it has had on people seeking cosmetic surgery procedures and treatments. Patients spend much more time looking at themselves and in the mirror on Zoom video calls, ”agrees Dr. David Shafer, MD, FACS. “The ‘Zoom Boom’ is 100% attributed to patients sitting at home all day and staring at each other on video conferencing. It has been a boon to the cosmetic surgery industry as an unprecedented number of people are seeking plastic surgery and cosmetic treatments. For an industry that was completely shut down during the first months of the pandemic, the ‘Zoom Boom’ has been a blessing. “

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Zoom itself generated a whopping $ 2.6 billion in revenue during 2020, an increase of nearly 317% year-over-year, and participants increased just shy of 3000% year-over-year.

However, the figures comparing plastic surgeries performed in 2020 with those of 2019 will show a decrease in all procedures across the board.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that plastic surgeons stopped performing elective surgeries for an average of 8.1 weeks in 2020 due to pandemic-related restrictions (about 15% of the year) representing a decrease in total procedures in the course of the year.

Consider those closures and you likely actually see the opposite – a marked increase in cosmetic and non-invasive procedures.

Dr. Schwarzburg says the most common areas he has been asked to act on amid the rise of the pandemic have been “under the eyes, frown lines and neck bands,” and he is not alone.

Of the more than $ 15.6 million spent on cosmetic procedures in 2020, the top three procedures performed were nose reshaping, eyelid surgery, and facelifts.

For some, these procedures provided a way to regain a sense of self-control and a way to fight the cost that the pandemic had on their perception of their own image; in a sense, a way to get back to feeling more “normal.”

“The pandemic stopped my cosmetic procedures because the medspas were not open and they cut my salary at work. Finally, when my salary was restored, I doubled my secondary jobs and service centers were opened, I rededicated myself to the procedures, doing more than I’d ever done before, “says Lauren G. *, a New York City woman in her 20s. “The blocks and temporary interruption of everyday life were a reminder that it is not as frivolous as it seems to live in the moment and pursue the things you want to do when you get the chance. Also, when much of my career and social life stalled In the midst of the pandemic, I was desperate to regain control of something, and my appearance was by far the easiest thing to control. The feelings of productivity and confidence that accompanied my pandemic-era improvements helped me emerge from that blockage in other aspects of my life. “

When it comes to typically popular minimally invasive procedures, such as lip fillers, Dr. Schwarzburg explains that they have remained popular during the pandemic, especially with the introduction of the Russian lip technique that claims to be even less invasive than standard fillers. of the past.

“The most important factor is that it is injected superficially, and essentially turns the lip from the front to bottom up, instead of back to front, it goes from bottom to top,” he explains. “There is less bruising because there are fewer superficial vessels on the lip… it is not as significant as when you go deeper, when you are more prone to hitting those larger vessels. They are almost absent in the territory. “

This desire to achieve a “natural” look is something that has become hyper-obsessed amid younger demographics who have turned to social media and filters as a means of aesthetic inspiration, especially during times of isolation and confinement. .

“I truly believe that, from a psychological perspective, we are only scratching the surface in the depths of the damaging repercussions that the pandemic has had on all of us. Related to self-image, WoofWe’re really seeing some interesting trends that are directly correlated with social media, “he explains. Tiffany Goodwin, RDN, LD and Sarah Arsenau, RDN, LD. “Think about what people, specifically teenagers, were occupying their time during the pandemic. Social media platforms like TikTok soared, surpassing 100 million users. Many of our patients report that there was immense pressure to have a ‘COVID blaze’, which means you now have no excuse not to diet and exercise every day. His vision became hyper-focused on achieving the unreachable bodies that flood our social media platforms and returning to ‘normal life’ with potentially different bodies. Mix this with collective trauma that affects the entire population, loss of achievements related to sports and other extracurricular activities, social isolation, and environmental stress such as loss of loved ones and financial security … well, no wonder the state of our mind health is suffocating. “

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And as the winter months hit their peak during a time when many are beginning to re-quarantine and isolate themselves once more, the procedures are once again increasing in popularity as potential patients pass. more time scrolling and shopping and less time spent with loved ones. some.

“Social comparison has a positive function, but it can also become neurotic,” explains Dr. Carmichael. “All the pandemic stress, including the pandemic weight gain (closed gyms) has definitely facilitated some insecurities that can drive us a little crazy.”

When it comes to pandemic-related weight gain or body image insecurities, one major procedure in which the industry can expect to see a rebound is QWO injections, relatively new and cutting edge cellutlite injections that leave the patient with little to no downtime between sessions.

“What makes this treatment so innovative compared to other cellulite treatments is that it targets the only aspect of cellulite that actually causes dimples, which are the fibrous septa under the skin, pulling on the skin. the skin down, creating the classic dimple seen in cellulite patients, “explains Dr. Schwarzburg. “Most of the other treatments that attempt to reduce and eliminate cellulite target the fat that sticks out, rather than what causes the dimples in the first place.”

Schwarzburg expects to see an influx of QWO patients this season and anticipates that it will become an extremely popular option for those who wish to change their appearance without any hyperinvasive surgery.

“I can imagine an increase in QWO patients this season, especially as the news about the treatments continues to spread,” he says. “When it comes to holiday gifts, I’d say treatments like Botox, medical grade lip fillers and facials like Fraxel are more popular, although I can imagine QWO will become one of the holiday wishes.”

Of course, typical procedures like Botox and fillers will also see a steady increase over the next month or so.

“We are already seeing an influx of patients seeking last minute treatments before the holidays. This is a special year, as it is the first time that people have seen friends and family in several years due to the pandemic and travel restrictions, “says Dr. Shafer.” Gift procedures are popular this time of year. I just had a patient buy a gift certificate for her mother to get a face lift and several patients buy gift certificates as last minute gifts for their partner … the entire plastic surgery industry is extremely busy right now as people are venturing more out of their homes, going to the office and planning vacations. “

*The name has been changed.

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