Encino, CA plastic surgeon George Sanders, MD had never done a virtual consultation until March of this year.
But, once COVID hit, it quickly became commonplace at his practice.
“At first, there were maybe one or two per week, but then there were many—often several each day,” he recalls. “Not only did patients virtually consult, but they scheduled their surgery in anticipation of the end of the surgery shutdown.”
And the calendar concurs: Since his office reopened for elective procedures in mid-May, the surgery schedule has been filled. “Part of this is due to the backlog of patients who were already scheduled for surgery but had to postpone it. Other patients were planning to have surgery anyway, and now seems like the perfect opportunity.”
However, Dr. Sanders says, there’s a third patient group that never considered surgery and are now drawn to it.
“When I ask these patients seeking plastic surgery why they are doing it, there are a number of reasons that are given. Home improvement has become a big thing during the pandemic. People are spending more time at home and see the need for home improvement. The same reasoning spills over into plastic surgery—patients have more time to spend looking at themselves and are seeing all sorts of needs that can be met by plastic surgery.”
It also comes as no surprise that many patients are not working, or they are able to work from home and recover there while still doing their job. “This gives those who were thinking about surgery before the pandemic, as well as those who began to think of having surgery during the pandemic, a wonderful opportunity because the element of time is often what is missing from the equation when it comes to recovering from surgery,” Dr. Sanders says.
Over on the opposite coast, New York plastic surgeon Jeffrey S. Yager, MD saw a similar “calendar fill” once his office got the go to reopen in June.
“At first, when we restarted, we were making up for the three months of cases we had to delay,” he says. “But now, we are extremely busy with new patients who see this as an opportunity to have cosmetic surgery due to virtual work situations. By working remotely, a patient can have most plastic surgery procedures done on a Friday and be back at work via Zoom, telephone or computer Monday.”
Dover OH, facial plastic surgeon David Hartman, MD has seen it, too. “Many patients are now working remotely from their homes to a far greater extent than ever—this affords many individuals more control of their work schedules and allows them to be less concerned about more lengthy recovery times,” he says, pinpointing one patient group in particular.
“We’ve seen this recovery-time-concern decline most notably in men. Working from home has markedly opened the door for men to step forward and schedule cases knowing they can recover, under the radar, from home, while continuing to work. Men seeking cosmetic surgery in our