Cosmetic Surgery In Brazil A Boom Fuelled By The Pandemic

Cosmetic Surgery in Brazil

Zoom Pushes Brazilian Cosmetic Surgery Boom

Mirrors don't lie, nor does the screen during a videoconference: the virus-induced lockdown has led many Brazilians to undergo plastic surgery to look better.  The pandemic has disrupted the medical tourism sector so Brazil has had to rely more on its domestic market.

With trips cancelled and restaurants mostly closed, many have extra cash to carry out such procedures.  All the economists tell us we have been turned from spenders to savers this year.

Beauty clinics say demand for the cosmetic treatment has as much as doubled here since the pandemic began.

A typical client, Regiane de Oliveira Sousa, a 38-year-old sales representative from Sao Paulo spoke to AFP about how she has used her lockdown time wisely in self-improvement.   Over the past six months, she has had cosmetic skin peels, breast reduction surgery, liposuction to remove unwanted fat, and facial harmonization treatment.

“Friends of mine have also taken advantage of teleworking to do these surgeries,” she told AFP.

Cost of the procedure: 3,800 reais (around $730), or almost four times the monthly minimum wage in Brazil.

Her surgeon, Cintia Rios, said there has been a significant increase in cosmetic operations this year, about 40 percent more compared to what was done before the pandemic.

Cintia Rios Cosmetic Surgeon

“I had to lengthen my work hours and I hired three employees. Beauty is not in crisis, thank God!”

According to Rios, otoplasties — cosmetic ear surgeries — are also popular because people feel that wearing a face mask makes their ears stick out.

Usually, such surgery is for children around the ages of eight or nine, “but this year, many adults are doing it.”

Lips are also important, adds de Oliveira Sousa, “because during telework videoconferences we see each other permanently on the screen.”

Rios's clinic was forced to close from March to May due to strict lockdown measures to control the spread of the coronavirus.  This affected domestic work as well as medical tourism.

Today, however, business at the clinic is booming.

Another typical Brazilian woman,  Rita Monteiro Meireles, 34 saw the confinement as a chance to use her savings to carry out cosmetic surgery enhancements that she has dreamed of since her divorce three years ago.

Dermal filler - Cosmetic Surgery in Brazil

“I didn't like my face, and after getting a bichectomy (surgery to remove cheek fat) I was the happiest person in the world,” she said.

Monteiro Meireles smiled as she looked at her new face in a handheld mirror, her lips still swollen after the botox injection.

Cosmetic surgery may serve as a palliative during times of anxiety and uncertainty, said Henriette Morato, a psychologist at the University of Sao Paulo.

“It's a way of demonstrating more control over your own life, to change what is still possible,” she said.  This is a comment I have heard quite often from surgeons in the UK and France and it is an argument that is well rehearsed in the USA.  It would certainly explain the boom in cosmetic surgery in Brazil

A Very Strange Year For Cosmetic Surgery in Brazil

Even though some cosmetic surgery clinics have seen demand for their services increase, “not everything is rose-coloured,” said Denis Calazans, head of the Brazilian Society of Plastic Surgeons — especially because of the multi-week lockdown earlier in the year.

“It's an atypical year,” he said.

“We should be showing figures lower than those before the pandemic” for the entire sector, he said, even if clinics offering simple procedures have done well.

Working at home and saving on money otherwise spent on travel or outings has allowed generally well-off Brazilians “to invest in themselves,” he said.

Brazil is the world leader in cosmetic surgery procedures, with 13 per cent of the global market, according to figures from the International Society of Plastic Surgery reporting on cosmetic surgery in Brazil

But when all cosmetic procedures — including non-surgical procedures such as botox injections — are included, it comes in behind the United States.

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