Cosmetic surgery, from the doctor’s office to a social phenomenon

Poll“The odyssey of cosmetic surgery” (1/5). Described already in the year 600 a. C., developed after World War I, cosmetic surgery has greatly improved and been on the rise for years, accelerated by the pandemic.

When she reopens her practice on Park Avenue after the lockdown in June 2020, cosmetic surgeon Haideh Hirmand expects to find her waiting room more or less empty. The first wave of Covid-19 just killed nearly 25,000 people in New York. The American metropolis is in a state of shock. “We all knew someone who had been in intensive care or worseremember her. We still didn’t have a vaccine. You could imagine that people would put their health, their life, above their appearance. » On the contrary: like the entire profession, Dr. Hirmand sees demand picking up as soon as restrictions are lifted.

He quickly realizes that his new patients are not complaining about their reflection in the mirror, but about their image on the screen. “When we look in the mirror, we don’t moveexplains the surgeon. With the massive use of telecommuting, for the first time, people saw their own face in motion. Judging from my clientele, men have suffered especially, probably because they are less used to looking at each other. Men or women, we’ve all seen things on the screen that we never noticed. »

The American press has dubbed “Zoom boom” – the name of one of the main videoconferencing platforms – the appetite for cosmetic surgeries that has gripped the United States since the start of the pandemic. An analysis of Google trends published in September 2021 in the magazine Journal of Cosmetic Surgery suggests that searches for procedures on the face increased more strongly after February 2020 than searches for other parts of the body.

“The planets were aligned”

Without anyone seeing it coming, “the planets aligned for our specialty”adds Dr. Steven Williams, vice president of the American Association for Plastic Surgery: “Middle-class Americans had canceled their vacations. They had free time, money to spend, masks to heal silently, and a dire need to lift their spirits. »

The most recent statistics from the International Association for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (Isaps) reveal that this phenomenon is global: despite the interruption of non-essential care in many countries, the volume of procedures has not contracted in 2020.

The design offices, which examine the world market for cosmetic surgery each year, place it at around 45,000 million dollars (approximately 43,870 million euros). By comparison, the luxury one weighs around 300 billion: until now, Homo sapiens devotes more resources to adorn his body than to modify it. But the search for beauty is a growing phenomenon. A discipline of medicine has become a fact of society. According to international data from ISAPS, the number of procedures performed each year by cosmetic surgeons worldwide has increased from 14 million to 24 million since 2010.

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