AAFPRS’s 2020 member survey examines the effect of COVID-19 on aesthetic trends, including an increase in surgical procedures, blepharoplasty, and rhinoplasty.
The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) recently released its 2020 member survey results quantifying exactly how much COVID-19 impacted facial plastic surgery trends in 2020.
After many states experienced partial and complete practice shutdowns at the beginning of the year due to COVID-19, 70% of AAFPRS surgeons report an increase in bookings and treatments, with nine out of 10 facial plastic surgeons indicating a more than 10% increase.
Of those who experienced higher patient volume, 96% report the reason being more time flexibility for patients to recover from treatments due to social distancing and working from home.
Rhinoplasty (78%), facelifts (69%), blepharoplasty (65%), and neck lifts/treatments (58%) all increased, according to the survey, due to the unprecedented virtual lifestyle that came out of the pandemic.
Resulting from these changes in patient lifestyle and more home-based lives, for the first time in years, AAFPRS members report a decreased demand for nonsurgical treatments in 2020. With a 9% decrease from 2019, the decline was driven by skin treatments (down 29%) and fillers (down 8%).
However, neurotoxins and Botox remained consistent with 2019 demand.
Contributing to this shift, members point to Zoom and other video conferencing tools as a major factor (83%). Dubbed the “Zoom effect” or “Zoom dysmorphia”, a study in the AAFPRS Journal, Facial Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Medicine, reported that the pressures of living virtual lifestyles had a major impact on self-image.1
Due to this, the number of teenage patients seeking rhinoplasty is up from 2019. Blepharoplasty also saw increased popularity for those hoping to look less tired in video calls, according to 56% of surgeons, and the desire to look better on video was also identified as a trend (41%).
"Real time video cannot be FaceTuned or photoshopped to smooth out a bump on the nose, crow's feet or a sagging neck," says AAFPRS president, Paul J. Carniol, MD, in a press release. "Unlike selfies and video editing apps like TikTok and Reels on Instagram, the video conferencing used for school, work and ZOOMing [sic] with family and friends does not allow for filtering capabilities, making it a particularly easy lens for self-scrutiny."
Another reason for the drastically shifting surgical preferences can be attributed to patients having more disposable income because of business closures and travel restrictions.
Continuing from 2019, many patients are still seeking a filtered appearance to look better in selfies (75%), up 33% from 2016.
Despite the major changes caused by COVID-19, the most common procedures of 2020 were similar to that of 2019, including rhinoplasty, facelifts, and blepharoplasty.
Women continue to dominate the patient pool for facial procedures, with neurotoxins (72%), fillers (61%), and rhinoplasty (52%) at the top of the list. However, Men have far surpassed women for receiving hair transplantation, and neurotoxin and filler treatments saw a 27% increase as one of the top three treatments for men.
2020 cemented the millennial takeover, according to AAFPRS, as patients age 56 and older represented a lower percentage of patients overall, perhaps due to COVID-19 restrictions or concerns, while those 30 and under remained strong in numbers.