If you don’t do it now, you never will.“That’s what 33-year-old Chloe thought when she performed liposuction in January 2021. If the decision had been made for several months, the period of”pseudo-containment“was a godsend:”I did not need to physically go to work and the official containment outfit – a jogging suit and a large sweater – allowed me to hide the operation, without having to justify myself“she tells us.

Aurélia *, 54, renewed her breast prostheses in November 2020, which were placed 15 years ago. “It was about time I did it because one of my prostheses had become thinner. I was stuck anyway, with no vacations or weekends possible, it was good. “

Discreet convalescence

Chloé and Aurélia * are not the only ones to have “taken advantage” of the pandemic to take the plunge. Because between the wearing of the mask, teleworking and the absence of social interactions, the motivations are numerous.

This is mainly the case for acts that affect the face, the recovery of which is made much more discreet thanks to the wearing of a mask. “After a week, we return to normal life and no one has seen anything“reveals Dr. Natalie Rajaonarivelo, plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgeon in Paris, creator and host of the podcast At the Scalpel.

The fitting of prosthesis or liposuction “very painful and requiring rest and no car trip“were also popular, facilitated by the generalization of teleworking.

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Savings for a real project

In addition to the possibility of a discreet convalescence, there is an economic reason: lack of outings and trips, “patients hoarded during lockdowns and turned to themselves for pleasure“, notes Doctor Richard Abs, cosmetic surgeon in Marseille and president of the National Syndicate of Reconstructive and Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (SNCPRE).

A concrete decision “at a time when all other projects fell through and no one had any visibility into the future ” says Dr Rajaonarivelo. A way, according to her, to anchor in reality and to face the anguish specific to the epidemic context.

“Zoom Dysmorphia”

Especially since confinement has changed the relationship with our body and our image. “Patients tell me that they don’t recognize themselves when they take off their mask, that they have a shock “says Dr. Marie-Thérèse Bousquet, for example, aesthetic doctor in Paris.

They look at each other through the photos they sent to their loved ones during confinement, or through video conferences and find themselves in complexes“continues Doctor Abs. A phenomenon that an American study published last November in the journal Facial Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Medicine referred to as “Zoom dysmorphia”, referring to videoconferencing software and the distorted image it reflects of ourselves.

A 20% increase in aesthetic medicine …

Result, according to a SNCPRE survey, aesthetic physicians record in the year 2020 a “20% increase in non-invasive aesthetic medicine procedures – injections of hyaluronic acid or Botox, installation of tensor threads, cryolipolysis or even laser“, explains Dr. Richard Abs.

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With a new feature, according to Dr. Bousquet. Whereas before covid, patients preferred “split the treatments for more discretion“, they now opt for “comprehensive care, more complete treatments which normally require a week’s desocialization”, she observes.

… But not in surgery

But the increase does not concern surgical acts which, on the contrary, fell by 20% overall in 2020. At issue: the massive deprogramming of so-called non-urgent operations imposed by the covid, especially during the first confinement.

A more variable rule during the second confinement, depending on the region and depending on the establishment since private clinics were not subjected to the same deprogramming pressure as hospitals. But they still avoided this year “all surgeries that could give rise to complications and therefore to a passage in intensive care“, notes Dr. Natalie Rajaonarivelo.

And in 2021? The delay accumulated in surgery in 2020 must still be made up, which does not happen in a few months, according to doctor Abs who recalls that in addition, the blocks were once again “closed to elective surgery for almost two months, in April and May 2021”. While demand has not weakened.


* The first name has been changed.