Plastic surgery and the pandemic: With time to heal and a mask to hide under, more patients looking for a face tune-up

Medical Watch

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in Zoom calls and for many, that means focusing more profoundly on their own face. It is a close up that is leaving some wondering how they can enhance their image.

Enter phone applications. Apps like FaceTune have patients becoming their own facial artists are leading many to come to plastic surgeons and saying, “Tune my face!”

“They are bringing these pictures in and they are saying, ‘I want to look like this famous star or Instagram model,’” Dr. Jeremy Warner, a plastic surgeon at the Warner Institute said. “And ‘Here’s my picture that I’ve morphed and here’s what I want it to look like.’”

Everything from a wider smile, higher cheekbones, bigger lips, no wrinkles, a tan.

Like Maya Edelmuth. She only wanted to change one thing.

“Everybody edits,” she said. “I would take the black marker (on the app) and I would just make a swoop.”

She wanted the bump in her nose gone.

“And I would just go (draw on nose) and frame it and take away the bump,” she said.

The look she was always searching for was right at her fingertips.

“The pictures made me happy,” Edelmuth said.

But she would then see the reality in the mirror. For Edelmuth, looking the mirror felt like it ruined everything.

So Edelmuth went to see Dr. Jeremy Warner.

“Plastic surgery is like art,” Warner said.

And not everyone’s eye is the same for the art.

“I pretty much wanted the ideal button nose, the swoop, the tiny little tip,” Edelmuth said.

The doctor had a different idea.

“I think we decided that would be a little too much,” Warner said. “When a patients tells me what’s bothering them, about their face or their nose, I could possibly interpret that somewhat differently even though we speak the same language. Whereas once we look at it on the computer screen and you see it visually, there’s no question whether or not we are on the same page.”

Technology merged the view.

“You have to be able to explain to me what you like about these other noses but then we have to be able to apply it to your specific face,” Warner said.

A tune up to the face tune left Edelmuth on Zoom no longer stressing about how she looked.

“I don’t even think about looking at myself anymore, whereas before I would be like, ‘Oh can they see my bump? Do they notice it? Is that what everybody is looking at?’” she said. “But really it was in my head and now that it is completely taken away, I don’t even think about it.”

Edelmuth said it’s also increased her confidence level.

The change for Joette Waters is both inside and out.

“I just felt so much younger,” she said.

The successful actress wasn’t having as much success in the land of Zoom interviews.

“I had auditioned for some people. They felt I was too old for the role,” she said.

When Waters looked in the mirror, she felt she knew why.

“When I would look in the mirror I would see my face was starting to drag,” she said.

So she dragged herself to the Warner Institute for Plastic Surgery.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in this,” Warner said. “People have the time to recover (now). They are working from home. They are wearing masks over their face to hide themselves when they are recovering. And for all of these reasons, people are coming in in droves.”

Waters wanted a little lift. And she was please with the outcome.

“My before and after pictures are jaw dropping,” she said.

And a bonus, there were no scars.

“The incisions are all well-hidden,” Warner said. “It is possible to do this and look younger and better and have the incisions hidden. And no one can tell what you did even with cameras on you and lights.”

Remember that casting director who turned her down last year? They Zoomed in with a new outlook after Waters’s surgery.

“A director that didn’t hire me last year because I was still a little too old for the role hired me this year,” she said. “They just said, ‘You look fabulous.’”

And Waters said she feels, age-appropriately fabulous, with a new look and some new career opportunities.

“I wanted to look fresh, refreshed and rested,” Water said. “But I also am proud of being my age. I feel like I am a mentor to some younger women. (You can) still be beautiful and create a kind of image that you can be young at any age.”

“And if they can get that one specific thing fixed, They are going feel a lot better about themselves,” Warner said.

And while more people are coming in for plastic surgery in the pandemic. Warner encourages them to do less. He says natural is always better.

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