The spread of COVID-19 has deterred people from doing lots of things, but going under the knife for cosmetic surgery doesn't seem to be one of them.
Cosmetic surgeons across the region have reported a steady flow of patients since they were permitted to resume invasive and non-invasive procedures in May. Some have even noticed an uptick in clients clamoring for a post-quarantine makeover or seeking skin treatments to address "maskne" -- acne around the mouth and jaw caused by wearing a face mask.
"We had a 90% increase in cosmetic consults from mid-May to the present and a 75% increase in new patients," said Ella Antimarino, director of marketing and business development for Bellissimo Plastic Surgery & Medi Spa. It has locations in Monroeville and Shadyside and satellite offices in Cranberry, Greensburg, Robinson and Hopewell.
Ms. Antimarino and her husband, plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey R. Antimarino, used the mandated shutdown to put finishing touches on the practice's new aesthetics center.
"We've been doing a lot of tweak-ments," which Ms. Antimarino described as minor tweaks often involving lasers or skin procedures with micro needling. Demand for body contouring and combination procedures -- ones involving more than one part of the body -- also has been steady, Dr. Antimarino said.
"With the downtime and being shut down from work and outside experiences, we think people really ended up focusing on themselves. It's one area of their life they can control," Ms. Antimarino said.
The fact that many people are still working from home has motivated some to move forward with liposuction, fillers and the like -- without their colleagues knowing.
"Most of the things we do have very little downtime," said Dr. Leo McCafferty, a cosmetic, plastic and reconstructive surgery specialist with offices in Shadyside and Mt. Lebanon. "Specifically if it's below the neck, you could be theoretically on a Zoom or video conference call the next day."
Even face masks have given some of his patients an extra boost of confidence, including one who went to the grocery store just a couple days after a face lift.
"She didn't have much bruising, but she wasn't embarrassed to go out even with stitches because she had a face mask on," Dr. McCafferty said.