Investigation“The odyssey of cosmetic surgery” (1/5). Described as early as 600 BC, developed after the First World War, cosmetic surgery has been greatly improved and has been booming for years, accelerated by the pandemic.
When she reopens her office on Park Avenue after confinement in June 2020, cosmetic surgeon Haideh Hirmand expects to find her waiting room more or less empty. The first wave of Covid-19 has just killed nearly 25,000 people in New York. The American metropolis is in shock. “We all knew someone who had been in intensive care or even worseshe recalls. We didn’t have a vaccine yet. 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 rebound as soon as the restrictions are lifted.
Very quickly, she notices that her new patients complain not of their reflection in the mirror, but of their image on the screen. “When we look in the mirror, we don’t moveexplains the surgeon. With the massive use of telework, for the first time, people saw their own face in motion. Judging by my clientele, men have suffered particularly, probably because they are less used to looking at each other. Men or women, we have all seen things on the screen that we had never noticed. »
The American press has baptized “Zoom boom” – named after one of the main videoconferencing platforms – the appetite for cosmetic surgery that gripped the United States from the start of the pandemic. An analysis of Google trends published in September 2021 in the journal Aesthetic Surgery Journal 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 were aligned for our specialty”adds Dr. Steven Williams, vice president of the American Plastic Surgery Association: “Middle-class Americans had canceled their vacations. They had free time, money to spend, masks to quietly heal under, and a great need to lift their spirits. »
The most recent statistics from the International Association of 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 billion dollars (approximately 43.87 billion euros). In comparison, that of luxury weighs around 300 billion: so far, Homo sapiens devotes more resources to adorning his body than modifying it. But the quest 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 around the world has increased from 14 million to 24 million since 2010.
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