Surge In Plastic Surgery Demand May Be Driven By This One Factor

When non-essential activities shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, industries all over the country lost business and hoped they'd regain ground again once the pandemic ended. Now that the pandemic is easing, plastic surgeons say they've seen an incredible increase in patients coming in for cosmetic procedures. There might be one particular reason for the renewed demand.

Plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery are often used interchangeably, but they have important distinctions, according to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. They're related, but definitely not the same. Plastic surgery is actually reconstructive in nature, meaning it's a specialty meant for restoring dysfunctional areas of the body, like treating burns, birth disorders, and traumas. Cosmetic surgery, however, is more about modifying appearance, through procedures like breast augmentation, body contouring, and skin rejuvenation. 

Rates of cosmetic procedures increased in the U.S. before the pandemic, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. In 2000, there were 1,901,049 cosmetic procedures performed. This rose by 2019, with a total of 2,678,302 procedures. This number dropped considerably in 2020, probably due to the lack of elective surgeries being performed early in the pandemic.

What's driving so many more cosmetic procedures

Now that the pandemic is beginning to ease up, people are choosing to have cosmetic surgery at higher rates than before. A 2022 survey by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons found that three-quarters of plastic surgeons with clinics focused on cosmetic procedures saw their business increase, with 30% reporting their business doubling (via Healthline). One of the top motivators for the increase in demand? How people feel they look on camera on virtual calls, also known as the Zoom Boom.

The survey polled surgeons operating aesthetic-focused practices, who reported that women between the ages of 31 and 45 were their most frequent patients. But Zoom Boom wasn't the only thing motivating people to come in for procedures. Surgeons also reported that patients were using money from canceled travel plans to fund their procedures, were willing to pay anything to feel more confident, had extra money that they saved during the pandemic, felt that they could more easily recover at home while working remotely, and wanted to live in the moment instead of putting things off for someday.

Among women ages 31-45, patients were most likely to receive a tummy tuck, liposuction, breast lift, breast augmentation, and cheek implants.