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Is it a 'Zoom boom?' Local plastic surgeons see growing demand

Posted at 9:38 AM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 09:38:43-04

NOVI, Mich. (WXYZ-TV) — Some are calling a 'Zoom boom,' a noticeable spike in demand for cosmetic surgery or enhancements during the pandemic.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons recently conducted a study and found the top reason for people going under the knife during COVID was related to weight; 17 percent of respondents said weight made them more likely to seek surgery or a non-surgical procedure.

14 percent reported having more time to recover, 13 percent cited more money available, and 11 percent said video calls drew their attention to things about their appearance they wanted to improve.

It's a national trend local doctors are seeing too, like Dr. Mazen Harake of the Harake Institute in Troy.

We spoke with Dr. Harake while he was in Miami at a conference, there to among other things, buy new equipment for his clinic given how much use his machines are getting right now.

“We are now booking almost 8-12 months out for surgeries and consultations," he told Action News. "A big increase in pretty much all surgeries.” 

Dr. Harake isn't alone. At Star Plastic Surgery in Novi, they estimate producers have jumped by around 40 percent since pre-COVID levels.

“We used to run one room, one or two days a week," said Star Plastic Surgery's medical director Dr. Elan Reisin.

"Now, we’re running almost four days a week, two rooms," he said.

The reason his patients give him? Similar to what Dr. Harake is seeing.

“We’re home all day staring at our reflections seeing imperfections, things we don’t like," Dr. Reisin told Action News.

A recent study published in the journal Facial Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic warns about 'Zoom Dysmorphia,' and the pursuit of perfection. It doesn't help that unlike Snapchat and Instagram, traditional video conferencing and self-portraits can seem less flattering and according to the study, in some cases even make features look bigger.

Dr. Reisin said the procedures in highest demand right now are tummy tucks with liposuction; patients are reporting it's in response to weight gain during the pandemic, he said.

Next, it's face-lifts and rhinoplasties followed by non-surgical procedures like Botox or lip fillers, made especially popular because of masks.

“They’re wearing masks, they’re covering their injected lips for a couple of days while there’s a little bruising," Dr. Reisin said.

When you compare the number of plastic surgery procedures nationally from 2019 to 2020, you'll see a decline. That's because, on average last year depending on where you live, plastic surgery practices were closed for around eight weeks due to the pandemic, or a little more than 15% of the year.

Now, local clinics are reporting a massive rebound. Some people so eager to get in, they're willing to pay extra.

“Patients are offering to pay patients, other patients, to take their spots and move up," Dr. Harake said.