What Top Aesthetic Doctors Learned from the COVID-19 Outbreak

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Whether it was by helping treat patients on the frontlines of the COVID outbreak or taking a step back to reevaluate what is most important in life, cosmetic doctors walked away from March’s COVID-19 outbreak with new insights and a renewed passion for their field. Here, top aesthetic doctors from across the country share how a pandemic that changed the world helped to change their perspectives, too. 

Frontline Feelings
“After I was forced to shut down my practice, I was restless and really needed to do something. I spent most of April volunteering in a COVID ward at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital. I learned about the frailty of human life, about the supreme importance of love, and that it’s vital to be doing what you really value in life, because the future is never assured.”
—New York plastic surgeon David P. Rapaport, MD

Easily Adaptable
“What really left an impression on me is how quickly it spread and the psychological effect it has had on people and greater impact on the economy. As a dentist, even though we are at a very high risk for contraction due to working with patients in particular in their mouths, since we are practicing universal precautions especially due to HIV it has been easier to adapt to the new reality of dealing with COVID.”
—Beverly Hills, CA cosmetic dentist Kourosh Maddahi, DDS

A Passion and a Privilege
“I learned that I love being a doctor even more than I thought possible. The day we reopened and I got back to the office and saw my first patients, I walked out of every room and said: ‘Oh how I’ve missed this!’ I love the doctor-patient relationship, being able to be there for my patients and being able to help them achieve their goals of health, beauty and happiness. I’ve always said being a physician is a calling and a privilege, but I didn’t realize it was also so closely tied to my identity. I learned that my patients appreciate it as well, they waited until I reopened rather than finding a way around coming in to see me, they followed on social media and enjoyed the IG lives and posts and newsletters.” 
— New York dermatologist Doris Day, MD

Safe and Sterile
“Here’s what I learned: Getting staff to feel safe and empowered to maintain standards of sanitation and patient screening really solves a lot of problems.”
—Eugene, OR plastic surgeon Mark Jewell, MD

The New “Lipstick Effect
“Although some people are still wary about receiving elective treatments, I have noticed that women still want to feel and look their best. Similar to the ‘Lipstick Effect’ of the Great Depression, we are using aesthetic dermatology treatments to enhance natural beauty to get a little pick-me-up during these difficult times. Since reopening, there has been an influx in eye and lip treatments, which are the two areas of the face that make women feel the sexiest. Another popular post-quarantine treatment is the HydraFacial. My patients have been telling me that they neglected their skin during quarantine, so they want a cleaner, brighter, and more youthful complexion.”
—New York dermatologist Marina Peredo, MD

Social Distancing
“I learned that the surgical team I am privileged to work with at Ocean Drive Plastic Surgery are indispensable to me and my patients, and that aesthetic medicine and surgery are always done best with a team approach. The hardest part of the shutdown for me was losing my ability to interface patients with my team. Due to social distancing considerations, our patient experience was temporarily altered after reopening because we limited how much contact each patient had with our staff during visits. We were unable to transition patients through multiple providers at the same visit (i.e., dermatology to plastic surgery, plastic surgery to spa, spa to injectables, skin consult to surgical consult, etc.). After much work, we have re-established our normal workflow with social distancing in mind. However, the appreciation for my team that this crisis has given me is beyond any cost, and I am forever grateful for this personal growth.”
—Vero Beach, FL plastic surgeon Alan Durkin, MD

Essential Experts
“The most important thing I learned is dermatologists, like all physicians, are essential. People don’t stop getting sick just because there is something else going on, and while we were initially closed and only open to emergencies such as infections and painful lesions, we learned very quickly that melanoma and other skin cancers still happen, rapidly spreading painful or blistering rashes still happen. So, it is imperative that all physicians, dermatologists included, be open to serve their patients with the same care and compassion as prior to COVID-19.”
—Fort Lauderdale, FL dermatologist Dr. Matthew Elias

True VIPs
“The biggest thing I learned from the COVID outbreak was more of a reminder than anything. It was that our health and the health of our loved ones matters more than just about anything in the world. Definitely more than money, fame, and accomplishments!”
—Detroit plastic surgeon Anthony Youn, MD

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