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COVID, Cosmetic Surgery and the Rise of Zoom Dysmorphia

Covid Cosmetic Surgery And The Rise Of Zoom Dysmorphia

The Dark Side of Zoom.

cosmetic surgery and zoom

Experts are calling it “Zoom dysmorphia.” or “Zoom face-envy” Common criticisms include noses and wrinkles, and more of us are searching for acne and hair loss on Google, per MarketWatch.

Today, millions of people are staring at their own faces online—and comparing them with so many others. Their lighting is bad, and they’re using cell phone cameras that can make unflattering angles even worse. You may call it “lockdown face” but it does seem to add 10lbs to your body and gives a ‘crepey' look to your skin.

A life disproportionately spent on Zoom may trigger a self-critical comparative response that leads people to rush to their doctors for face-related treatments they might not consider spending time and money on if they weren’t spending so much time and money on their screens.

This phenomenon affects people in different ways. Talking to the ‘Economist' Michèle Le Tournelle, a 62-year-old retiree near Nantes in France, said the “horrible” confinement turned into “a revelation”: it spurred her to undergo a slimming procedure and a facelift with which she has been “very, very, very” pleased.

The cosmetic surgery industry is likewise very, very pleased. Many cosmetic surgeons had expected the pandemic to hammer business. Instead, the industry is enjoying a Zoom-boom.

The Zoom Boom

cosmetic surgery

The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, however, claims that the epidemic may have actually led to an overall increase of 10%. Even greater impact has been felt in France where the French Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons reckon that surgeries are up by nearly 20%. This is certainly reflected in our own site statistics where we have seen a vast increase in the number of visitors searching for French surgeries.

In Italy, Pier Andrea Cicogna of Studio Cicogna, a plastic surgery clinic in Treviso, says his revenue has risen by nearly a third despite more than three months of closure. In the UK bookings at surgeries, especially for minimally invasive work have gone through the roof.

Other subtle factors are at play here. In the age of distance working, patients can recover inconspicuously at home as bruises and swelling fade. Also, the biggest clients for expensive makeovers tend to be professionals who are more likely to work from home and can vanish easily for a day or so without needing to explain their absence. Secondly, recuperation is made much easier by the universal use of face masks which very neatly hides any procedures to the nose, chin cheeks and jawline. Tweakments like resurfacing of the skin or lip-plumping are discreetly hidden away from casual view.

Finally, money not spent on clothes, evenings out and travel have financed much of this. Gains in the stock market have also helped, There is plenty of loose change sloshing about and having ‘tweakments‘ is often see as a little treat.


Many of the' Zoom Boom' clients are men. They typically request eyelids, noses and “love handles” liposuction. Also, there has been a noticeable increase in demand for skin rejuvenation. Morpheus8 is a minimally-invasive treatment that tightens facial skin and has become very popular.

A comment from an Italian $7 years single mum in Milan in the Economist is typical

“Being stuck at home without an occasion to dress up didn’t help. “I really needed to do something to feel better,” she says. Eyelid surgery wiped “ten years off my face”, she reports; the operation was “psychologically therapeutic”. ‘

Beyond these obvious treatments, there is a tendency to demand the unattainable. It might not count as full-blown body dysmorphia but it moving in that direction.

Sufferers obsess over an imagined or exaggerated body flaw. This can be magnified by a morose mood and a lack of normal social interaction—not to mention more time spent comparing oneself to others according to Dr Cirillo. He says that “cosmetic surgeons must work harder to turn down those with a pathologically confused self-image.”

baby botox and zoom dysmorphia

According to the BBC, injectables were the most-asked-for treatments, followed by more invasive procedures, such as breast augmentation and liposuction. By and large, UK-based practitioners say that the Zoom Boom is driving interest in non-invasive facial procedures, like Botox, fillers or skin resurfacing that correct lines caused by the facial expressions we notice on video calls as well as to tackle wrinkles. There’s also a surge in demand for ‘neck rejuvenation’ and ‘jawline contouring’, as people spend more time looking down into their computer’s camera and focussing on those areas of their body.

Dr Jill Owen, a psychologist from The British Psychological Society, warns the version of ourselves we see on our screens can be deceiving and distort reality. Due to the angle of most cameras on most devices, the image is shown to you can seem distorted, which could lead you to worry and stress unduly about your appearance. But it is probably just a continuation of the insecurity people used to experience with ‘selfies' and now they feel this same pressure in video conferencing.

Will the Zoom Boom Last?

In the UK the boom has been fueled by a generation of celebrities speaking openly about their ‘cosmetic journeys'‘. The comedian Jimmy Carr and footballer Wayne Rooney have had hair transplants and other cosmetic procedures. British plastic surgeons have reported a 70% rise in requests for video consultations over 2020.

The UK leads the world in its enthusiasm for cosmetic fillers which has created an industry worth in excess of £bn a year. A 2019 report from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons found that men now want to look “tweaked” rather than “tucked”.

What do the Surgeons say?

expert on zoom dysmorphia
Dr Carolyn Chang

“I’ve never seen so many people want to have facial surgery at the same time, and so urgently, in my 20 years in practice,” said Dr Carolyn Chang, a San Francisco cosmetic plastic surgeon who specializes in faces and breasts.

In Silicon Valley, facial plastic surgeons Drs. Sachin Parikh and David Lieberman, the founders of L&P Aesthetics medical spa, clinic and surgical centre in Palo Alto, are also reporting an uptick,

Dr Dayan a Chicago-based, double board-certified surgeon was equally bullish when talking at a convention in Paris. His thoughts on the future are very well-judged “Conventional wisdom paints [plastic surgeons] as purveyors of beauty for the vanity challenged,” he says. “But aesthetic procedures enhance mood and self-esteem.” The future of aesthetics, Dr Dayan explains, “is not to make people look beautiful, but feel beautiful; that's a message of empowerment, not vanity.’’

So we can probably look forward to this boom continuing and expanding as cosmetic surgery tourism starts to open up again after a moribund 12 months.

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Medical Tourism & Cosmetic Surgery 2021 COVID Essential Update

medical tourism
Medical Tourism Cosmetic Surgery 2021 Covid Essential Update



Over the last decade, we have witnessed the emergence of a new travel and tourism sector – medical tourism and its sub-niche cosmetic surgery tourism.

To meet this demand Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Turkey, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Spain have invested heavily into their healthcare systems to attract more medical tourist from around the world.

Similarly, in Asia countries such as Malaysia,. Indonesia, India and South Korea have actively chased the medical tourism dollar. Meanwhile, Central and South American countries like Mexico, Costa Rica and Colombia have rapidly expanded their clinics and along with it, their North American client base.

However, the coronavirus pandemic might have brought the gains of the previous years to a screeching halt.

In this opinion piece, we look at how some of the main players have been affected by the pandemic and whether there is any light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel.


Turkey and the UK Market.

A quick glance at the price comparison chart on the Medical Departures website shows us why Turkey has been a destination of choice for English ‘influencers' and their wannabe followers.


Breast implants which might cost £9200 in London's Harley St can be your for as little as £3300 in Istanbul at a top clinic such as the Istanbul Aesthetic Centre which has a mass of great reviews from foreign patients.

Similarly, at Vita Estetic you can get a new head of hair for around £1500 which is peanuts compared to the £6000 you might find yourself paying at a fashionable hair transplant clinic in London or Manchester.

You would pay even less if you have a large social media following since Turkish clinics are well known to provide promotional surgeries for minor celebrities and TV reality stars.

When the UK introduced flight lockdowns and quarantines Turkey was very badly hit. As of April 2021, this continues to be the case.

The first test of a bounceback will be in mid-May when the UK govt announces the green countries that are removed from quarantine restrictions. I doubt very much that Turkey will be on that list so it will probably only spring back to life at the end of June.

But let us look for a moment at the infrastructureTurkey that made it such a success in the fist place.

Turkey’s private hospitals and medical clinics provide the perfect mix of modern, contemporary facilities, in relaxing, holiday-like locations. The majority of clinics are well-equipped and hygienic, meaning you can rely on the quality of treatment offered and the safety of your stay in most cases.

Turkey is world-renowned for medical excellence, and is home to the best facilities and doctors. Turkish doctors are highly trained and highly qualified across a wide range of healthcare specialities.

Turkey is a safe and highly developed destination for medical tourists. Turkish people are extraordinarily hospitable, and you won’t find better prices or care anywhere else in Europe.

with these thoughts in mind turkey is likely to bounce back from the Covid disruption quite quickly and when it does you can find all the best clinics listed on our site.


Asia a Majormedical Tourism Hub Disrupted by the Pandemic.

The Asia Pacific accounts for 31% of all wellness tourism trips and 21.4% of the global expenditure in 2017. The region is by far the biggest market for medical and wellness tourism. China, Japan, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines are some of the major destinations for these trips.

Health and wellness tourism trips to Asia were forecast to reach 128.3 million by 2022, according to GlobalData, before the pandemic struck.

With travel into and out of most destinations difficult or impossible, consumers have stopped travelling for health, dental and medical services. Demand is frozen. Will it ever recover? Is there a ‘new normal' we can look at in the region?

Malaysia – How Covid Hit Cosmetic Surgery Tourism

malaysia a medical tourism hub

The Malaysian government predicted that two million international visitors would arrive for medical treatment in 2020—only for the covid-19 pandemic to hit during the Year of Healthcare Travel.

But in March, all that came to a halt when the Malaysian government instigated a lockdown to curb the growing number of covid-19 infections… For Malaysia’s hospitals, this meant there was no possibility of offering non-essential healthcare. For its medical tourism industry, it was a hammer blow.

The relative success of Asian countries in containing the virus means that they will probably be able to recover faster than other regions.

“Success in suppressing the virus, and—very importantly—implementing and maintaining rigorous testing and tracing is already proving important in tourism promotion and decision making.” Says Gary Bowerman

However, there has been no official word regarding when travel to affected countries will resume. Many nations are continuing to impose border closures and 21-day quarantines on everyone coming into the country, even though they might be easing travel restrictions—an independent travel expert.

When Malaysia gets back to life, you might be tempted by the excellent, well-priced facilities at Beverly Wilshire Medical Centre – Johor Bahru

The Medical Director for the Beverly Wilshire Medical Centre – Johor Bahru is leading plastic surgeon, Dr Nasir. Originally a graduate of the University of Melbourne, Dr Nasir is a Bachelor of Medicine who has over 18 years of experience in aesthetic and cosmetic surgery. His international training and qualifications also include a Master of Surgery from the University Kebangsaan Malaysia and a post-graduate degree from The Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) in Edinburgh.

He provides expert treatments across various areas, including craniofacial surgery, burns care, tummy tucks, breast surgery, facelifts and liposuction. The centre also offers eyelid surgeries (blepharoplasty) and nose surgeries (rhinoplasty), as well as a range of non-invasive treatments designed to improve the appearance and quality of the skin, including chemical treatments, botox injections and laser therapies.

You might also shortlist the specialist Georgetown Specialist Hospital, close to Penang airport.

Medical tourism hospital

Cosmetic Surgery options including tummy tucks, body contouring, liposuction, breast augmentation, facelifts, eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) and nose surgery (rhinoplasty). They also have a wide range of less invasive aesthetic treatments.

Pricewise they are very competitive with Breast Implants and Breast reductions similarly priced at around $4500.

Malaysia has a wonderful range of tourist activities that will add value to your trip when things get back to normal.


Back in the USA..

North America has always had a very vibrant domestic medical tourism market as well as being an enthusiastic consumer of out of country treatments. They have also seen a sharp fall in clients from across state lines.

David Vequist, who heads the Center for Medical Tourism Research at the University of the Incarnate Word, the largest Catholic university in Texas,

David Vequist medical tourism expert
David Vequist

says that Covid-19 has crippled many hospitals' finances by taking away domestic medical tourism, which is one of their largest sources of income. Talking to Vequist says

“America's flawed healthcare system has forced hospitals to provide lucrative elective services to the privately insured in order to generate revenue, “Hospitals need to provide these elective surgeries because that's the best way for them to turn a profit.”

The Mayo Clinic was a big loser when it stopped all its elective surgery to make way for incoming Covid patients and expects to lose $800 million this year alone.

Another big effect on the North American medical tourism sector has been the slowdown on hospital-owned/sponsored luxury hotels to cater to incoming medical tourists. The pandemic has made doctors focus on emergencies rather than profitable elective surgeries. Hospitals have canceled hip replacements and tummy tucks, while flight bans have grounded many foreign visitors.

The New York Times also points out that multiday protests in May and June against police brutality, set off by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, have also given travelers pause, depriving hospitals of some of their best-paying customers, according to those who work in the industry.


Final thoughts on Medical Tourism and COVID-19

While technology has been changing the healthcare industry, communication technologies are the real key in transforming the industry. PlacidWay is a healthcare software company that uses various communications technologies to accommodate different kinds of users and environments and to provide more transparent ways for medical institutions to communicate with patients.

Hybrid Medicine Services is a cloud-based technology designed to expand healthcare services through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Hybrid Medicine’s AI, analytics, and databases enable providers to authentically connect with and engage their patients in new ways.

The same as Zoom has transformed the business world so too has medical tourism been responding to the pandemic.


But where does that all leave us with the future of the medical tourism industry? An in-depth study by Verdict sets it out quite clearly We are looking at a 1-3 year period for medical tourism and its cosmetic surgery niche to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels.

3 Cosmetic Surgery Destinations That are Off the Beaten Path

cosmetic surgery destinations
2 Cosmetic Surgery Destinations That Are Off The Beaten Path



The Middle East is a hub for cosmetic surgery, with Lebanon, Turkey and Dubai all becoming leading cosmetic surgery destinations. The number of procedures performed in the region has risen sharply in recent years, and if current trends continue, surgeons say that they expect demand to continue rising.

cosmetic surgery destinations in middle east

For many of us who have memories of the Lebanese civil war and have witnessed the regional dramas play out in that region, the prevalence of cosmetic surgery might be surprising. Dubai, on the other hand, Dubai is all about image and Instagram beauty, so it is understandable that it has become a cosmetic surgery hub.

Lebanon has, however, suffered considerably from its own economic crisis and the rapid devaluation of its currency, the Lebanese Pound. Cosmetic surgery in Beirut is always charged in U.S Dollars, so for the local population, the cost of having a nose job or tummy tuck has skyrocketed over the last 12 months.

Dr Elie Abdel Hak, head of the Lebanese Society of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgery, said to Arab News in a recent interview.

“There are 104 plastic surgeons in Lebanon, 50 per cent of whom have branches outside Lebanon, specifically in Gulf countries,” said Abdel Hak. No doctors had quit Lebanon, he added; they were just moving between home and their clinics abroad. “This helps them continue to pump fresh money into their work in Lebanon.”

Plastic surgery in Lebanon is still priced in US dollars, just as they were before the national currency collapse. While other medical disciplines have reduced their profit rates to keep up with people’s living conditions, some cosmetic doctors are still charging their clients in dollars.”

“The shape of the nose has long been seen as ‘problematic’ by some in our region,” says Jamila Halfichi, talking to BOF site. The fashion and lifestyle editor at pan-Arab daily newspaper Asharq Alawsat. “We are not all ‘blessed’ with small and straight noses that fit the idea of Western beauty standards which have been peddled for so long across the Middle East.”

“I think Lebanese television had a big impact,” Halfichi adds. “When MBC [The Middle East Broadcasting Center] launched a few decades ago, it introduced a new wave of young, pretty broadcasters and newsreaders who were different from the old school. Men were mesmerised and smitten and women wanted to look like them as they were somehow more familiar and accessible than film stars.”

Today, Lebanon's First National Bank even offers loans specifically for cosmetic surgery and while the Lebanese appetite for cosmetic improvement shows no sign of abating, a proliferation of newly qualified surgeons in Iran, Turkey and Dubai have eaten into its medical tourism market, with an estimated 30 percent decrease reported at some of Beirut’s treatment centres.

While there is no denying that outdated notions of Eurocentric beauty have played their part in the plastic surgery business boom across many parts of the world, Saltz sees change afoot.

For a population famed for its beauty and style, the rise in costs for cosmetic surgery must have come as a severe shock to the local population. I was investigating other destinations in the region where cosmetic surgery is still in its infancy and prices are still reasonable.


Jordan One of the Regions' Leading Cosmetic Surgery Destinations..

Crowned as the gateway of medical tourism in the Middle East, Jordan has high-end medical facilities and expertise at all levels. The country offers unmatched cost savings for hospitals and specialized medical treatments that are not widely available in other parts of the world.

amman jordan one of the regions cosmetic surgery destinations

Jordan is now moving ahead in the cosmetic surgery field and prices are very competitive. For example, a well-respected surgeon such as Dr Amad Dawood would charge clients around $3000 (2000 Dinars) for a rhinoplasty (nose job) and you would be getting top class results.

Liposuction at a good clinic in Amman will cost in the region of $1500 and you will be treated by highly qualified surgeons, many of whom qualified in the UK or USA.

But it is not only women who are putting Jordan on their shortlist for procedures Amman has become a destination choice for many men in the Arab world and beyond. . Indeed a recent study indicated that 55% of clinic visitors were in fact male.

Local plastic surgeon Dr Hussein al-Tarawneh said “Men are becoming increasingly obsessed with plastic surgery, which they read about and watch videos on social media. While in the past, men used to feel shy about consulting plastic surgeons, today it is becoming normal.”

Nose jobs are just the tip of the iceberg. Those who care about how they look are considering the whole package these days, including breast reduction and belly fat elimination.

Many older patients who have had weight loss surgery request to remove excess skin and to enhance their facial features, such as to reshape the face. However, many older patients are afraid of going under the knife., a website that provides educational information about cosmetic procedures to Arabic speakers, states that Saudi Arabia has the highest percentage of cosmetic surgery users in the region,but Jordan follows quite close behind.

the most requested cosmetic procedures in Jordan during 2015 were quite varied, including hair and beard transplants, rhinoplasty (also known as a nose job), liposuction, gastric sleeve and dental implants. Although some Jordanian men preferred to get their hair transplants done in turkey where prices can be even lower.


Afghanistan – Surprising Cosmetic Surgery Destinations.

A surprising newcomer to the cosmetic surgery arena is Afghanistan which is more often considered a warzone rather than a mecca for cosmetic tweaks. Kabul has had enthusiastic bodybuilders and consumers of protein shake for some time but now there is demand for cosmetic enhancements. Women are stepping out of the Burkha into a handful of cosmetic surgeries that have sprung up in the capital. They have been exposed to western beauty culture through trips to Europe and they also read social media. Many have family in neighbouring Iran where cosmetic surgery is booming.

cosmetic surgery destinations

According to Mohammed Arif Abdl at the Arvin Hospital businesses is growing day by day. Mr Abdl trained in Thailand and practised in India before returning to his native Afghanistan to open his clinic. There are, however, some risk factors for hopeful cosmetic surgeons in Kabul. Doctors are thought to be rich, and so are often targeted for kidnapping. But religious extremists are a problem too. Doctors in Afghanistan who perform cosmetic surgery have to face the threat of violence against them and their families.

Although the clinicians at the Arvin hospital make their money from nose jobs, they also patch up bullet wounds and treat burns,

Whilst Kabul might still be a minnow in the cosmetic surgery ocean burgeoning demand will undoubtedly push the market forward over the coming years.

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