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Demand for Cosmetic Surgery Increases after Pandemic

Liposuction, facelift, breast augmentation most sought procedures

By Lynette M. Loomis

Rachel, a patient at Quatela Center for Plastic Surgery, had a rhinoplasty procedure, which is a surgery that changed the shape of the nose.

Demand for cosmetic procedures has increased dramatically since the pandemic, according to the 2022 Trends Report, issued recently by The National Association of Plastic Surgeons.

The group sent a survey to 1850 member surgeons. More than three-fourths of respondents (76%) report seeing increased demand compared to prepandemic levels. Nearly a quarter of aesthetic-focused practices (23%) report their business has doubled, and 6% report a dramatic increase of more than double their volume in the past year.

Heather Lee is a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon with the Quatela Center for Plastic Surgery in Rochester.

According to Lee, facelifting procedures continue to be popular, as well as rhinoplasty. There has been a big uptick in patients looking to optimize their neck and jawline surgically and contour the lower face with buccal fat extraction.

“Hairline lowering has been extremely popular, especially with younger patients. Lower eyelid surgery continues to be requested by patients of all ages. Locally, demand continues to be up,” Lee said.

According to Lee, the goal of plastic surgery is not to make you look like someone else, but to enhance everyone’s natural beauty and features.

Heather Lee is a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon with the Quatela Center for Plastic Surgery in Rochester.

“I strive to create natural, beautiful results for each patient. Exceptional care begins with a commitment to excellence. What motivates me is the pursuit of excellence, and the focus of this intention is always centered around the patient. With this at the core of our practice, we can deliver a world-class experience with the highest standard of individualized care and results,” Lee said.

In talking with patients who see her for an initial consultation, she assesses if surgery is right for the person and if they are a suitable candidate.

“All surgeons want to be assured that the patient’s expectations are realistic. A cosmetic procedure can boost self-confidence, but it does not change every aspect of one’s life,” Lee explained.

Vito Quatela, founder of the Quatela Center for Plastic Surgery, is the current president of the International Federation of Facial Plastic Surgery Societies. He works with facial plastic surgeons in various countries around the world and has the greatest respect for their skills.

Some surgical candidates do opt for surgery in another country. Lee clarifies that while there are qualified surgeons everywhere, it is important to realize that a successful surgery does not end after the operation. Having someone see you through the healing process is just as important, not only physically but sometimes also mentally and emotionally. The follow-up and after care schedule and availability is something to consider when picking your surgeon, regardless of geography.

Rhinoplasty, surgery that changes the shape of the nose, is a popular procedure. For many people it is cosmetic. For many others it is done to correct a breathing problem.

Rachel, a local resident who preferred to omit her last name, wanted the procedure for a long time.

“I noticed my insecurities surrounding my nose more so as I was in college and started really disliking my side profile and overall appearance. I felt like my nose grew! So, I figured I’m young enough, let’s do something about it,” Rachel said.

When she began to seriously consider rhinoplasty, she prepared herself by asking many questions.

“Dr. Lee and the staff at the Quatela Center were more than happy to answer my questions. I looked up previous work from the Quatela Center and researched what results would look like. I also saved for about a year, to financially be in a place to afford the surgery,” she said.

According to Rachel, her healing process was smooth. To her surprise, she had more swelling than bruising.

“I barely bruised at all,” she said. “After my two-week appointment, it felt like results happened overnight and the swelling came down and true healing began. I had the procedure in mid-April and was in a wedding in June. I felt confident as ever.”

Kayla, another patient at Quatela Center, had a blepharoplasty, which is a surgery that removes excess skin from the eyelids and addresses undereye bags.

How does she feel now? “Amazing. It was the best decision of my life. My only regret is not doing it sooner,” she said. “I am so happy with how I look and the new confidence I have gained, not just cosmetically but truly within.”

Another popular procedure is blepharoplasty, a surgery that removes excess skin from the eyelids and addresses undereye bags. As we age, the skin of our eyelids droops, sometimes to the point of blocking our vision. But other people have this condition at an early age.

Kayla, another patient at Quatela Center que asked her last name not be used, is a person whose eyelids seemed to sag early in life and she had deep undereye bags.

“My entire life I wanted something done about my undereye bags, but I honestly didn’t know my options until I talked to Dr. Lee. I Googled and looked at options online before going to the Quatela Center, but I did not know what the best fit for me was,” she said. “I also was not sure how I would afford surgery or even if I was a candidate for the procedure.”

She said she went in for her consult with an open mind.

“I asked what she [Lee] thought was the best option for me and explained what I was looking for in terms of results. It was important that she could see what I saw,” Kayla said.

“The healing process is a little long. I am typically a person that bruises easily, so I would say it took about a month for my bruising to completely go away. It was around two weeks for me to be able to cover them with makeup,” she added. “Honestly, the worst part about the healing process is the little undereye bag stretches that you must do, because your under eyes get tight and taunt. You have to rub and stretch them to get them back to feeling normal. It just feels very strange and uncomfortable.”

She said that the downtime was not bad and she took about a week off from work before returning.

The results?

“I feel amazing. Mentally it has taken a load off my mind. It has made me feel more secure and beautiful. People say I look more rested. I don’t think twice about going out without makeup on or smiling in pictures. I used to hide behind my glasses, only pose in the sunshine and turn certain ways to try to hide my bags. I no longer need to do that, and it’s a wonderful feeling,” she said.

Top 5 Reasons Patients Have Been Motivated to Get Plastic Surgery

1 — Feel refreshed / look younger after aging from pandemic stress

2 — Noticed body changes that they want to improve now that there is more in-person interaction

3 — Put off surgery during the pandemic and are now ready

4    Improve self-esteem / confidence

5 — Noticed things they want to improve during video calls

Source: The National Association of Plastic Surgeons