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Chatham Facial Plastic Surgery

Making Sense of Aesthetic Procedures during Covid-19: Part One

To say the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted life including elective procedures this past year is like saying the Hurricaine Katrina disrupted life for a few days in the South. We have not seen anything like the mayhem this has created and continues to cause.

In late March 2020, most state government called for a moratorium on elective procedures. This lasted about 2 months. As the number of virus cases rose and hospital beds were used, the windows for surgery would wax and wane.

Our Practice

People were afraid to leave their homes. We would hear about needing to ‘sheltering in place’ and how easily the virus was spreading. In April most of our patients called to postpone their visits until it was safer.

Our office did not close. We needed to be  available for followup care for reconstructive patients , skin cancer patients and emergency department requests.

Now in our community I will be called by our local hospital emergency department about 2 or 3 times each year to take care of a facial dog bite injury that could not easily be managed by the E.D. staff. But in 2020, between March and September the number rose to 8 dog bite injured patients, another with a profound cat claw eye injury and one horse bite that chomped off 1/3 of a nice lady’s ear.l Were these animals stressed by the Covid pandemic, too? Perhaps they grew annoyed as their owners were around so much and just acted out.

Social Isolation

What about us humans when forced to abandon normalcy by not venturing out to a restaurant or to an arena ball game? Or being asked to cancel church services?
We are not programmed to live in a cave, removed from others. Even the introverts are struggling. Some of our patients called for an office after weeks and weeks at home alone visit just to briefly get out of the house and see people they know.

Face coverings (masks) are another bizarre factor. It’s harder to recognize others and to tell how they are feeling. ‘Maskacne’ (maskne) is a new dermatological malady. Zoom and FaceTime interactions replace human face-to-face contacts. And just looking at one’s own tired eyes above the mask may be disheartening.

Meanwhile we see ourselves not only on unflattering Zoom calls but with bad lighting in various states of stress, unrest and fatigue. Facial flaws, imperfections, undesirable features are all there in their unvarnished beauty. And this does not include the unwanted pounds put on by more eating and less physical activity.

What can we do?

With so much out of control, no wonder we humans want to try to regain some semblance of control. That means taking care of ourselves. Investing in ourselves is one way to seize a little control. So the desire for Botox and facial fillers and facials and laser treatments seem a normal way to help regain our footing.
We have been focusing on our ‘in-office’ procedures to try to avoid exposing our patients to other medical facilities where exposure to the virus might be higher.

Is there any thing wrong with asking for an elective aesthetic procedure during a pandemic which is sickening and sometimes killing others? Isn’t it vain to do this while so many others are struggling?

Perhaps. But perhaps doing something positive for ourselves is one way of regaining a little bit of normalcy in a time where so many things seem so very very abnormal. Taking care of ourselves does not mean “me first”.  It means “me too”. And giving ourselves a dose of self love may be just what the doctor ordered as we persevere into the new year.

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