Plastic Surgery Booms Despite Pandemic


The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is changing many things for our society. From social-distancing rules to canceling summer travel plans to mask mandates to how kids go to school to even how we shop for groceries, there’s no doubt that things are different, and they’re different here in our office, too. We’re not just talking about extra COVID-19 safety protocols, however. We’re talking about increased demand in plastic surgery procedures!

While you may think COVID-19 would have decreased the demand for plastic and aesthetic procedures, the opposite is actually the case. COVID-19 has increased the demand for plastic surgery procedures and appointments at plastic surgery offices significantly. 

Plastic surgeons from across the country — from New York to Los Angeles and in between — are reporting an increase in demand for plastic surgery procedures, virtual consultations and virtual appointments.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons surveyed their members and found that:

  • Sixty-four percent of respondents saw an increase in their telemedicine/virtual consultations since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Sixty-eight percent of responding plastic surgeons started seeing patients virtually because of COVID-19.

According to the Sunday Times, interest is up significantly in everything from Botox (botulinum toxin Type A injections) and soft tissue fillers to more invasive procedures such as Mommy Makeovers and breast augmentation procedures. 

The ASPS also reported that 55 percent of its member plastic surgeons across the United States said that Botox was the most in-demand procedure during the stay-at-home order. The ASPS statistics also showed that breast augmentation was the most requested surgical procedure (40 percent). 

COVID-19 and Increased Demand for Plastic Surgery Procedures

Some plastic surgeons are calling this phenomenon the “Zoom Factor.” 

One theory behind the significant increase is that people are connecting with others virtually due to stay-at-home orders and self-quarantining. Think about it: Zoom and other online meeting platforms have made virtual meetings, classes and even happy hours increasingly popular. 

As a result, people are seeing themselves on camera more than ever, which gives them more opportunity to check out their appearance. 

For the first time, many people see things about their appearance that they never noticed. Or they may feel great self-consciousness over things that have always bothered them, like crow’s feet around their eyes, laugh lines around their mouth, and loose skin or double chins. 

This is not the first time that cameras have increased the demand for plastic surgery procedures and the number of calls to plastic surgeons. 

A study by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery revealed that the demand for plastic surgery procedures had increased by 25 percent between 2012 and 2018, particularly in noninvasive procedures such as Botox and soft tissue fillers. 

The AAFPRS attributed the increase in plastic surgery procedures during that time to selfies and social media. 

The bottom line is that people want to look great in person, as well as on their Facebook and Instagram posts. 

While people seeing themselves on webcam more frequently has given the demand for plastic surgery a boost, plastic surgery has actually been on the rise for years. In 2019, Botox injections and breast augmentation procedures were the most common procedures in the nonsurgical and surgical categories. Nearly 8 million Botox injections and almost 300,000 breast augmentations were performed last year.  

Why Plastic Surgery Now? 

Many individuals have decided that the current COVID-19 pandemic is the perfect opportunity to pursue plastic surgery goals because they are now obligated to quarantine or work from home, making recovery easier. 

Also, in many states, elective procedures were put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. Still, when the restriction on procedures loosened up, many people with pent-up demand for procedures saw their window of opportunity to have a plastic surgery procedure and took it. 

Some also hoped that having elective plastic surgery during COVID-19 meant no one would notice that they had a nip here, a tummy tuck there or liposuction or other body-contouring treatments to remove unwanted fat. Some individuals also felt that wearing a mask allowed them to get procedures and cover up until fully healed. 

Whatever your reason for plastic surgery, now is an excellent time to get the procedures you’ve always wanted! 

The 2019 Plastic Surgery Statistics, an annual report from the ASPS, shows an increase in demand for plastic surgery compared to 2018. There were 18.1 million cosmetic procedures performed last year, with 1.8 million surgical procedures such as eyelid-lift procedures and liposuction. There were 16.3 million minimally invasive procedures (think injectables like Botox and fillers, laser treatments and other cosmetic skin-rejuvenation services) in 2019 as well. 

The top five plastic surgery procedures include:

  1. Breast augmentation procedures: 299,175 (down 4 percent from 2018)
  2. Liposuction fat removal: 265,209 (up 3 percent from 2018)
  3. Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty): 211,005 (up 2 percent from 2018)
  4. Nose reshaping (rhinoplasty): 207,284 (down 3 percent from 2018)
  5. Face-lift surgery: 123,685 (up 2 percent from 2018)

It’s not surprising that breast augmentation topped the list — it has been on top since 2006. Other cosmetic surgical procedures that were not among the top five but are increasing in demand year after year include buttock augmentation (aka Brazilian butt-lift) performed with fat grafting and the labiaplasty procedure to reshape labial tissue. 

The top five minimally invasive procedures included:

  1. Botulinum toxin Type A (Botox, Dysport, Xeomin) 7.7 million injections (up 4 percent over 2018)
  2. Soft tissue dermal fillers (Restylane, Juvederm, Radiesse) 2.7 million injections (up 1 percent)
  3. Chemical peels 1.3 million procedures (unchanged from 2018)
  4. Laser hair removal 1.0 million procedures (down 2 percent)
  5. Intense pulsed light treatment (685,755) (up 2 percent)

Minimally-invasive facial rejuvenation procedures have grown considerably in recent years, but 2019 marked the highest botulinum toxin type A injections to date — nearly 7.7 million injections!  

Are you interested in surgical procedures such as breast augmentation, a mommy makeover or liposuction, or do minimally invasive procedures such as Botox or soft tissue fillers interest you? 

If you’d like to schedule a consultation to talk about what time of plastic surgery procedure is right for you, we’d love to talk. Call us today at 785-234-9000 to set up a consultation!