How the Pandemic Affected Plastic Surgery
As a response to the COVID-19, lockdowns and other restrictions affected businesses across all industries. Plastic Surgery was no exception.
During the first few months of the pandemic, clinics had shut down to help prevent the spread of the virus. Simultaneously, people delayed their non-essential medical treatment to avoid close physical contact.
While demand decreased in most industries, the demand for plastic surgery had boomed throughout the pandemic to the surprise of many. Experts have pointed out several reasons for this.
First, being at home had changed the recovery landscape for patients. Those who had considered cosmetic surgery but avoided scheduling surgery because of time off required during recovery now wouldn’t need to miss work.
Another reason was that social distancing could still be maintained because fewer people were in the clinics.
Finally, interest in cosmetic surgery, particularly of the face, increased as more people spent their days on video calls during the lockdown. A study in the journal Facial Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Medicine calls it Zoom Dysmorphia and attributes it to people becoming aware of the features they want to change after spending more time looking at themselves. People are seeking ways to look younger and fresher, especially on-screen.
For the above reasons, doctors felt the surge in interest, including our doctors at Midwest Breast & Aesthetic Surgery team. In response, we sped up our efforts to adjust to the new normal. Our focus was simple: ensure we could cater to everyone with the same quality of care.
Adjusting to the New Normal at MBAS
In March 2020, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) began developing safety protocols for cosmetic surgery practices. It gave many doctors hope that their clinics could reopen sooner rather than later, given that they followed the protocols.
One of the first trends in the new normal of plastic surgery in the United States was telemedicine. These virtual one-on-one meetings allowed patients to speak with their doctors and explore their options. This was essential for maintaining social distancing and avoiding non-essential contact.
There had been a backlog of patients due to delayed surgeries when clinics were closed down. Through teleconsultations, clinics had a way to connect with new customers, answer any queries, and schedule them for surgery.
After implementing virtual consultations, we shifted our focus to ensuring that our clinic was safe. We implemented coronavirus safety precautions recommended by the ASPS to allow clinics to reopen. These included:
- Limiting in-office visits by allowing teleconsultations pre and post-operation
- Conducting thorough Covid-19 screenings of staff and patients for respiratory symptoms
- Regular temperature checks and tracing of their travel and potential exposure before entry into the clinic
- Washing hands often with soap and water and providing hand-sanitizer inside the clinic premises
- Following physical distancing guidelines by reducing the number of patients booked each day
- Limiting the people in shared spaces, such as the waiting area, to a minimum
- Using complete personal protective equipment, or PPEs, on all staff members
- Requiring the use of face masks at all times
- Implementing regular sanitation to clean and disinfect the clinic between patient visits, especially on surfaces and objects used regularly
These efforts have boosted patients’ confidence to re-enter our facilities on the date of their scheduled surgery.
Another way we’ve adjusted to the pandemic is to provide online resources for our patients through webinars and podcasts.
Before COVID hit, any interested patients could visit us to explore their options. Online consultations were one way that we could speak with people every day. We also created additional resources to educate our audience about specific procedures and made them available online.
Our webinars, which are accessible on Youtube, feature our team of board-certified surgeons. They discuss various approaches to the procedures we offer, presenting the techniques and shedding light on any possible risks. The webinars give listeners a chance to ask their questions to the doctors directly.
Microsurgery in Breast Reconstruction
The Breast Podcast Ever released its first episode in April 2020 and is hosted by Dr. Tiwari and Dr. Kocak. Each episode tackles the types of surgeries relating to the breast. They present lesser-known procedures like the PAP flap, TUG flap, and DUG flap, natural options used for breast reconstruction.
The podcast was part of our effort to reach more women and let them know how we can help them. Because of its accessibility, anyone can listen at their most convenient time wherever they may be.
Each episode lasts an average of 30 minutes.
The Breast Podcast Ever
Always the “Surgeons Who Specialize“
No one could have predicted the pandemic’s effects on our business, but we’ve always emphasized the importance of delivering the best experience to our patients no matter what.
We pride ourselves in being surgeons who specialize, providing the best results through advanced treatments and procedures. And despite the uncertainties brought by COVID-19, we’ve begun to specialize in the new normal of plastic surgery, constantly innovating to help all our patients.