Plastic surgery ‘Zoom Boom’ amid pandemic

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While the global Covid-19 pandemic initially brought elective procedures like cosmetic surgery to a standstill, the aesthetics industry has bounced back to pre-pandemic levels and continues to soar to even greater heights than before. This is according to award-winning plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr Brian Monaisa, who says his private practice, Marang Aesthetics, has been booming as people discover a new lease on life and seek to put their best face forward in an increasingly digital world. 

This boom, he says, is not necessarily a reflection on self-confidence or self-esteem: “I think what Covid-19 did was to put the spotlight on living, and on living a good life; there was so much loss and people stopped delaying the things they always put off for later. People have adopted a more immediate-living kind of approach, and are investing more in the things that they really want, whether it is a luxury cruise or plastic surgery. There’s a new urgency to living, and to the pursuit of dreams, goals and happiness.” 

The Zoom Boom and other trends

Monaisa does not think the pandemic changed societal perceptions of beauty, but concedes that the lockdown and work-from-home practices have made people more social-media orientated, and more concerned about how they present themselves online, both personally and professionally. 

Because online meetings and digital spaces became the norm (and perhaps because people spent a lot more time looking at their own faces in the corner of their screens) the cosmetic and aesthetics industry underwent what some professionals have dubbed the “Zoom Boom”, with more clients reaching out to explore surgical and non-surgical options in their quest for  the “perfect Zoom face”, or more realistically, a face that presents as well on screen as it does in person.

Monaisa says at his practice the shift in the popularity of some procedures was evident: “Botox has always been one of the most requested services at Marang Aesthetics; we’re now seeing it gain even more popularity.” The procedure, which entails injections into selected areas to reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles, is primarily done in the upper third of the face. “We’ve seen an increase in brow lifts and eye-opening procedures like blepharoplasties, which remove excess skin from around the eyes and give a younger appearance.” 

This eyelid surgery, he says, has always been popular among male executives in their mid-50s who are at the prime of their careers but are challenged by younger colleagues who see them as old and tired. “Now, it’s a way to stay on top of things with remote meetings and digital workspaces, when your face is the only way to express your vitality and relevance,” he explains, adding that for many people a face rejuvenation results in a career rejuvenation too. “If you feel good about yourself, you are more confident, more expressive and more impactful.”  

Skincare treatments such as oxygen facials and microneedling have also gained popularity, with Vitamin C and Retinol being the most popular options for a rejuvenated, smoother and brighter facial appearance, free of breakouts and skin blemishes resulting from constant mask wearing. 

Demystifying plastic surgery

Social media has, to a certain extent, helped normalise cosmetic surgery. “People who used to spend 10 minutes a day on Instagram now suddenly spent two hours online, and have been exposed to accounts of people who had undergone surgery,” he says, adding with a laugh that in the United States plastic surgeons are considered the rock stars of Instagram. “They have massive followings, and show before and after photos — of celebrities but also of ordinary people — and this helps demystify plastic surgery. People who did not necessarily think plastic surgery was for them could now see themselves represented and could no longer find a reason to not step into that comfort and happiness.” 

During the lockdown people also realised that it would be the perfect time to have some work done — in utmost privacy. “Everybody was isolating, and many people realised that they had a window where they could transform themselves out of the public eye,” he says. “For those who did not want to disclose their surgery, the fact that they couldn’t see friends and loved ones for an extended period was a blessing, because they had time to heal and could attribute the changes in their appearance to a lockdown exercise regime or a special diet.” 

Monaisa’s most popular offerings for younger clientele in their mid-30s and 40s are body contouring services. These include breast rejuvenation, breast enhancement, tummy tucks and liposuction. “And of course, one of the most popular procedures in the world right now is the Brazilian Butt Lift,” he says. “It’s fast approaching the popularity of breast augmentation.” 

But, he cautions, timing is key, especially amid a global pandemic and its associated health risks. A current or past Covid-19 infection increases the risk of blood clots, which could lead to deep vein thrombosis, strokes and heart attacks: “In my practice, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, I would want the patient to be six weeks post-Covid-19 before I even consider them for surgery. It is because of this increased risk of clotting, but also because this clotting effect can also affect wound healing and scarring. I advise my clients to wait even longer than six weeks, because plastic surgery is elective. There is no need to rush, especially if waiting will deliver better results. It’s better to wait and make sure the timing is right, and that you’re going to walk out of surgery happy, healthy and one step closer on your journey to holistic wellbeing.” — Jamaine Krige

What does the ‘perfect Zoom face’ look like? 

“There have been many studies done and books written on what constitutes attractiveness, and what features are generally considered attractive. And there’s a formula for that — the most beautiful faces, irrespective of gender, race and nationality all have one thing in common, and that is that their facial features fit the 1:1.1618 ratio known as the Golden Ratio. People are naturally drawn to images that follow this formula.” 

Dr Brian Monaisa says this does not mean that people leave his office looking like carbon-copies of each other. “If someone comes for a consultation to enhance their face, I would use this existing knowledge to see how I can help bring their features closer to fulfilling that ratio,” he says. “It’s not about creating clones, but rather using techniques to make sure, for example, the brow arches perfectly at two-thirds of its length, and this will look different in different people.” 

Achieving this ratio can be achieved using both surgical and non-surgical procedures, and can be done in day procedures at Monaisa’s private practice.

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