Cosmetic plastic surgery procedures must’ve seen a decrease turn this pandemic. Quite the contrary, plastic surgery numbers are up as a result of the pandemic. What, that can be?!? Why would anyone be worried about how they look during a pandemic?!?

During quarantine, many people were working from home or unfortunately lost their job or were furloughed. This gave people the time or opportunity to research a cosmetic procedure. “I have always been interested in breast augmentation. This gave me time to do that Google searches and really research the procedure.” This is the scenario I heard from several of my patients.

That damn mask thing. Love it, hate it, whatever … it can conceal the mid to lower half of your entire face. So that means you could have your lips injected and the mask would hide your lips until the swelling went down. The mask can also hide the bruising one may suffer from injectables. Likewise, if you had a chemical peel the mask would conceal some of the peeling. And who are you kidding; it is not like you are going out to a party any time soon.

With employees working from home there has been a lot of Zoom meetings. I also did a lot of Zoom meetings for webinars during the quarantine. I noticed with the Zoom meetings that I was actually looking at myself while I was talking more often than looking at the other people at the meeting. A lot of people I’ve talked to also said that they just stare at themselves in Zoom meetings as well. What this has created is people analyzing their faces more than they would on a daily basis. Finding wrinkles, discovering skin blemishes, noticing redundant skin … this has created the Zoom Effect. Do you suffer?

Amazon has made it so much simpler to recover from surgery during this pandemic. Need paper towels … Prime it. Insta-cart is a great way to get groceries and not even leave the comfort of your home. If you can’t cook those groceries then you can have GrubHub deliver the prepared food you are craving. Services such as these have made it easier for patients to recover following elective cosmetic surgery.

Think about this one. Are you now exclusively working from home? Well, I hate to recommend this but you could be recovering from surgery while working from home. For instance, after a tummy tuck, most people take 2 to 3 weeks off of work. This is because of pain and decreased mobility and the restrictions of lifting. However, if you are still working from home that second and third week of recovery when the use of narcotic medications is decreasing and the patient’s mobility is increasing, could be done while working from home.

I have noticed that in talking to cosmetic patients they are more likely to have or had surgery during this pandemic. Cosmetic patients want to have surgery because this is something that they desire. On the contrary, a patient that has a hernia and needs to have surgery doesn’t necessarily want to have surgery but they know they need to have surgery so these patients will tend to push surgery dates further and further off into the future. Cosmetic patients are more likely to have surgery.

We were supposed to go to Aruba for a family vacation during spring break in April. The island of Aruba was shut down and no tourists were allowed into Aruba. How many other people‘s vacations were canceled or were not able to go on vacation because of things being shut down. Or scared to take an airplane flight to a location. With no vacations to pay for, people have extra cash to spend on themselves now. And they are using this cash to pay for cosmetic procedures such as breast augmentation and tummy tuck.

Some individuals spent money on their backyard to give it an overhaul during the quarantine. Some individuals then realized why not do the same for my body. Yet others said to skip the yard let me lift my breasts or tuck my tummy! I think people realized the uncertainty of tomorrow in 2020 and made the decision to make positive changes in their lives and for some that included making changes to their body.

Stimulus check, stimulus check … what should I do with the free money the US government has given. The extra $600 calculates out to be more money than if a person was actually working. Why work if you can get paid more for not working. Some people bought new TVs or other electronics. And I’m sure some people actually used it to pay their rent. But some people used their stimulus check to pay for their cosmetic procedure. Maybe it is similar to getting one’s tax return back.

As a plastic surgeon, I never would have dreamed that the desire to have a cosmetic procedure performed would increase during a pandemic. Who in their right mind would predict this. I would imagine that people would be scared to spend money on beautifying themselves because they may need that money for food and rent. 2020 saw a pandemic, giant murder hornets, a giant sand storm that traveled across the Atlantic, social unrest in the US, and yet for so many reasons, there was an increase in individuals willing to undergo the knife to restore, reshape or augment their body.

Adam T. Silverman, MD, MS, FACS