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Plastic Surgery in the Age of Pandemic and Why it’s on the Rise

A few months into the pandemic, after the Tiger King and Dalgona coffee craze collectively wore off, came a wave of people choosing to do elective plastic surgeries, and tweak features of their face that they otherwise would have considered doing at a later stage of their lives, if at all.

On the surface, this might sound like an average plastic surgery story: but the twist is, that for a variety of reasons, people are increasingly reaching out that moment now, in the middle of a global pandemic, when experts had predicted that these treatments would likely phase away for a while.

Demand for cosmetic and surgical interventions have gone up significantly during the course of the pandemic, and Dr. Yash Metha from Aesthetic and Cosmetic Surgery Clinic, Mumbai reports that his clinic has been extremely busy. “The priorities of patients have shifted. While we may not be going on elaborate vacations anymore, people are gifting themselves time and treatments that they have been considering – truly acts of self-love.” 

Plastic Surger

The upsurge in work from home and video conferences have piqued people’s interest in cosmetic procedures. With nowhere to go, clothes and dressing up have become a thing of the past and has given way to people looking more after their skin and appearances. Interestingly, a study conducted in 2020, highlighted that pre-pandemic, people would probably look at themselves for an hour each day. The rise of video calls and seeing reflections of themselves in motion have left an average person looking back at themselves for about 3-4 hours a day. “People are seeing reflections of themselves in motion, and they are seeing lines and folds which they have not seen before,” claims Dr. Yash Mehta.

The market growth rate of cosmetic surgery globally is said to accelerate at a CAGR of 7% approximately. “The pandemic has also given people the privacy to rest and recuperate in the comfort of their homes, and procedure downtimes aren’t an issue anymore,” claims Dr. Yash Mehta.

In addition to this, the usage of phone and zoom calls has increased dramatically in the recent years of the pandemic, and photo damage caused by UV rays and blue light has also accelerated the ageing process, making people conscious about their features. “People are now happier to invest in fillers even if they dissolve in a shorter time to look a certain way. It is definitely not a necessity; people are finally putting themselves first,” says Dr. Yash Mehta.

In an interview with Sociotab, Dr. Yash Mehta, Principal Surgeon/ Founder of the Aesthetic and Cosmetic Surgery Clinic talked about Facial Plastic Surgery, the trends, role of social media. 

  • There are a lot of misconceptions regarding cosmetic surgery especially in India like can you get a “new face” if you have the funds and the right doctor? What do you have to say to that? 

Yes, there are a lot of misconceptions regarding cosmetic surgery in India. You can get a new face but there are a  number of procedures one has to undergo over a period of time- that means years. Personally, if a patient comes to me asking for such a procedure, I would refer the patient to a psychiatrist and follow up till I get a green signal from the psychiatrist. I would also discourage these kinds of procedures because I personally believe that each face is unique and retaining that uniqueness is my job. 

  • Indian Beauty Standards are mostly influenced by Eastern European Standard, does that affect the demand from the clients who come to you for consultations?

Not necessarily, due to the large influence of social media, the trends continue to change. Generally, women want higher cheekbones, chiseled jawline and youthful-looking eyes. Men, on the other hand, prefer square chins. 

  • What are the kinds of risks involved in getting procedures like rhinoplasty, fillers as well as Botox?

Rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure that can lead to nasal airways compromise, saddling of the dorsum and can also lead to more asymmetry the nose and result in things like pinched up noses filler – necrosis of the skin, injected in the nose can also lead to blindness, lumps and bumps persistent after 3-4 weeks,  infection, migration of the fillers. I, therefore, always advise my patient to opt for HA fillers and CaHA fillers from Merz and  Allergan. Never permanent fillers BOTOX- Asymmetry, drooping of the upper eyelid and formation of autoantibodies against the botulinum toxin protein, crooked smiles and drooling can also occur. 

  • What are the most common procedures done in the current scenario?

Under-eye surgery- Blepharoplasty, non-invasive facelift procedure, rhinoplasty, peels for hyperpigmentation 

  • What kind of procedure you don’t recommend?

Anything which will yield unnatural results.

  • People tend to have unique demands when it comes to cosmetics procedures, so is there any consultation you remember that was quite unexpected?

It’s true, we get some very unusual requests but the most unusual one I had was when someone asked for waves (peaks and troughs) in their lips.

  • What are some of the current trends that are in demand currently?

At this time, liquid facelifts, chiseled jawlines, high cheekbones and blepharoplasty are in high demand. 

  • What are your thoughts on the Kardashian culture which has influenced the culture of plastic surgery? Is this factually accurate in your practice as well? Everyone on T.V or Social Media seems to want full lips like Kylie or a nose like Kim…

It definitely has influenced the industry but things like these are like a double-edged sword. What we need to remember is that Kylie’s lips look good on Kylie and Kim’s nose looks good on Kim. The procedure you choose to take on must deliver results that look best on you. 

  • Why do we consider the symmetry of the faces beautiful? 

Frankly speaking as a facial plastic surgeon I would not chase or recommend asymmetrical face. Symmetry has historically been considered of importance because sculpting valued symmetry greatly however as I said earlier- beauty lies in each person’s uniqueness, harnessing and emphasising the uniqueness is what is important. 

  • According to you, how can we define the most beautiful features?

Every face is beautiful and each person’s features are unique to themselves therefore no one feature can be defined as beautiful. All the features of your face must compliment each other. 

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