ATHERTON (KPIX) -- Hours of staring at our own faces on video calls during lockdown have gradually made certain features more prominent and bothersome. As a result, plastic surgeons across the country are seeing an uptick in patients seeking surgical and non-surgical treatments.
Call it a "Zoom boom."
"For me, the little wrinkles there, the little dark circles under my eyes -- it was time," said San Mateo resident Abbey Evangelista.
Evangelista found herself in hours-long virtual meetings and family gatherings during the pandemic.
The 39-year-old Kaiser nurse and mother of three said seeing herself on camera magnified her perception of imperfection.
She decided to get lip injections and also received botox and under-eye fillers.
"When I'm done, I'm super excited at the results and you look better, you look fresh and you look bright and you feel new," Evangelista said. "This boosts your energy, your confidence."
Evangelista is not alone in craving an upgrade to her appearance and mood during the pandemic.
Plastic surgeons say they're seeing more patients, particularly those who want work done from the neck up.
"People are starting to notice little imperfections. They find themselves looking at their own photo, as opposed to the people they're talking to," said facial plastic surgeon Dr. Umang Mehta of Mehta Plastic Surgery. "I think the other thing is: when you see yourself on camera, especially if the camera is close to you, there's a distortion effect."
Dr. Mehta, who specializes in rhinoplasty, says he has performed more rhinoplasties during the pandemic than ever before. His calender is so full, surgery dates are being scheduled well into the spring. Botox and facial fillers are the most popular quick fixes at his Atherton practice.
After a two-month closure due to coronavirus restrictions, his office reopened with boosted health and safety protocols. Mehta Plastic Surgery staggered appointments to avoid any patient overlap. His office also scheduled extra surgery days to catch up on surgeries that had been postponed.
"I think they're taking advantage of the fact that they're working from home so, if they happen to get a little bruised or if they're a little swollen, they don't have to be at the office the next day," Dr. Mehta said.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Gabiel Chiu of Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery Inc., who treated Evangelista, says that, since the pandemic, the number of consultations and demand for treatments have more than doubled at his Southern California practice.
He's seeing more first-timers and people willing to consider more intensive procedures, because the recovery period is easier to conceal.
"I have patients who kind of take advantage of this and say 'hey, wait a second, nobody has to see the rest of my body and maybe it's time to go ahead and take care of some of those things on my wish list,'" Dr. Chiu said.
Despite the tough economy, plastic surgeons are also finding that patients have more cash on hand, since many did not splurge on travel and entertainment during the pandemic.
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