Each year, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS)—the world’s largest association of facial plastic surgeons—conducts a third-party survey with a group of its 2,200 members to determine annual aesthetic trends. Today, the results were released, and there are a few surprises.
Surgery Is Up, Nonsurgical Procedures Are Down
In a twist no one saw coming, the AAFPRS reports “a surge in surgical demand not seen in recent years, despite the fact that many non-essential surgeries and aesthetic services were put on hold for months during the pandemic.” A whopping 70 percent of participating surgeons experienced an increase in bookings and treatments over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 9 in 10 indicating an increase of more than 10 percent, and surgical procedures being the majority.
“For the first time in years, AAFPRS members report nonsurgical treatment demand decreasing in 2020,” says the Academy. “The average amount of minimally invasive procedures was down 9 percent compared to 2019, driven by a decline in skin treatments (down 29 percent) and fillers (down 8 percent),” though demand for neurotoxins—Botox Cosmetic, Dysport and Xeomin—remained steady.
The consensus is that the upswing can be credited to two key factors unique to the COVID era: more time spent on Zoom and digital devices; and more time spent at home, making it easier for patients to recover than having to answer questions about their swelling or other side effects over office water-cooler talk.
“Not only has the uptick in demand for surgery been fueled by the current stay-home culture, but also by the fact that we have all had more time to look at ourselves—on Zoom, FaceTime and in the mirror. We’ve seen our faces in ways we haven’t before, and we’ve had more time to critique them,” says New York facial plastic surgeon, Andrew Jacono, MD. “COVID has also put us into more of a ‘carpe diem’ mentality given the ease of recovery these days. We’re seeing a trend in more patients asking for multiple procedures at once. Usually we would see two or three procedures grouped together, say brow and eyes or eyes and facelift, but now we’re seeing 20 percent of patients wanting it all.”
Rhinoplasty Still Tops the List of Most Requested Surgical Procedures
According to the Academy, rhinoplasty procedures were the most requested according to 78 percent of surgeons, followed by facelifts (69 percent), eyelid lifts, aka blepharoplasty (65 percent), and neck lifts/treatments (58 percent). The survey reports that despite the consistent demand for rhinoplasty—it’s ranked above all other facial procedures for years—the number of teens seeking the surgery is up from 2019, “with 41 percent of surgeons identifying this as a rising trend” as a result of desire to look better on video conferencing, which has also been used for schooling.
It’s interesting when you think about it because students are typically facing the front of the classroom, eyes on the teacher. But in a Zoom world, students are potentially able to look at each other head on for long periods of time. However, Dr. Jacono says, “It’s not only millennials that continue to be influenced by the selfie culture, I’ve seen a huge increase in patients over 40 pointing to Zoom as motivating factors.”