Health

Zoom Is Motivating People to Get New Sorts of Plastic Surgery

Call it the “Zoom neck lift.”

You’re likely already well acquainted with an unforgiving element of our new reality—the Zoom call. While staring at other people virtually, we’re also staring at ourselves virtually, and also staring at a hard truth: Sometimes we could use a little work.

By the beginning of June, when the entire Washington area had entered Phase One of reopening, elective surgeries were happening once more. What became apparent is that many people—long cooped up, with endless time to consider their corporeal shortcomings—wanted their damn glow-ups already.

“We call it the ‘Zoom neck lift,’ ’’ says Arlington plastic surgeon Talal Munasifi, referring to requests he has fielded for face work after people have suddenly stopped mid–virtual gathering and thought, holy crap, they could use a touchup. “They say, ‘Oh, I didn’t realize things look like this.’ ”

Typically, Munasifi says, summer is a slow time for cosmetic work because of vacations. But this past June, his practice saw almost 30 percent more traffic than usual. “We have been extremely busy,” he says. “It was amazing how quickly it came back.”

DC plastic surgeon Catherine Hannan says more patients are inquiring about skin-brightening peels or lasers. Someone may sit in on a Zoom call with poor lighting and not be able to stop thinking about those sunspots or under-eye bags. “They might not be that bad in person, but the shadowing is making it look worse to them,” Hannan says.

A large part of the increased business is due to people finally having the time to recover from a procedure—no more summer-camp carpools or in-office meetings. “When you say the downtime is ten days or a week or two weeks, not many people have the luxury of taking a week or two weeks in a row,” says Munasifi. “Now they can.”

It’s not just Zoom-inspired nips and tucks. Hannan says most of her patients are requesting body work, such as breast augmentation and liposuction: “They’ve spent a lot more time at home thinking about it. They think it’s an ideal time to have a procedure.”

Another factor that doctors say could be adding to an increase in patients: virtual consultations. Neither Munasafi nor Hannan frequently saw patients by video call prior to the pandemic, but now that they’ve used it over the past few months, they believe the ease may make some people reach out who ordinarily wouldn’t.

“I think telehealth has opened up a new world for plastic surgery,” says Hannan, who isn’t charging a fee for virtual consultations (but does for in-person meetings). “It can be done from home, ten minutes in between your other work that you’re already doing on your computer.”

Erin Kelly, a 30-year-old who works in PR, recently had a virtual consult with Hannan about getting liposuction under her chin and on her stomach. Kelly ordinarily lives in New York City but has been staying with her parents in Olney and working remotely during the pandemic.

She’s long wanted to get work done—“probably since the first time someone called me Chipmunk Cheeks,” she says—but hadn’t found the right time. Until a pandemic struck. And, as with many people who have gotten refunds for vacations or other activities that couldn’t happen, she had extra money to spend after moving in with her parents and canceling her gym and Rent the Runway memberships. “The stars kind of aligned, and I decided if now wasn’t the time, then when?”

Many Washingtonians, of course, have prioritized their physical well-being over their physical appearance during the crisis. Staying Covid-free, it could be argued, is more important than getting a facelift or Botox. Plus you’re not going to see anyone, so what’s the point?

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“It’s the same principle as hair salons,” says Hannan. “Some people are desperate to get their hair cut, and a lot of us are like, ‘Well, I wear it in a ponytail all day,’ ”

That’s seemingly the case for a 41-year-old Arlington woman who works in real estate (and asked to remain anonymous). She’s gotten Botox before and has breast implants, and she just underwent a medically necessary surgery to replace the implants with new ones. Yet her approach to self-maintenance has changed over the past few months.

“I like to go to the spa, I like to get my nails done, I like to get my hair done,” she says. “With the lockdown, obviously all that had to end. I think I’ve gotten back to much more natural.”

Even for those embracing “natural” beauty, though, the lure of coming out of quarantine looking especially “well rested” can’t be ignored.

“When we’re talking about Botox—that’s different,” the woman clarifies. Turns out she got some just a few weeks ago.

Top Plastic Surgeons

These surgeons—all of whom were named Top Doctors in our November 2019 issue—are recommended for cosmetic procedures on adults looking to rejuvenate face and body

While most of these physicians can do any type of cosmetic surgery, we’ve listed special interests they have.

Stephen B. Baker

3800 Reservoir Rd.,NW; 202-444-9302;also McLean

Mary Ella Carter

5215 Loughboro Rd., NW; 202-363-6844

Special interest in facial rejuvenation, facial fillers

Christopher Charles Chang

8100 Boone Blvd., Vienna; 703-945-1700; also Chevy Chase

Special interest in breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, facelift

Steven P. Davison

3301 New Mexico Ave., NW; 202-966-9590

Special interest in breast augmentation, breast lift, facelift

Konrad L. Dawson

106 Irving St., NW; 202-726-1000

Special interest in tummy tuck, lipo­suction, breast reduction/augmentation/reconstruction

Gregory O. Dick

9711 Medical Center Dr., Rockville; 301-251-2600

Special interest in cosmetic surgery of the face, breasts, and abdomen; laser skin care; breast reconstruction

Gloria Duda

6845 Elm St., McLean; 703-893-1111

Special interest in cosmetic and reconstructive breast surgery

Craig R. Dufresne

8501 Arlington Blvd., Fairfax; 703-207-3065; also Chevy Chase

Special interest in facial rejuvenation, facelift, neck lift

William Epps

8008 Westpark Dr., McLean; 703-287-4600

Jules A. Feledy Jr.

5530 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase; 301-654-5666; also Stafford

Special interest in breast reconstruction, body contouring, aesthetic surgery

Douglas L. Forman

11210 Old Georgetown Rd., North Bethesda;  301-881-7770

Special interest in breast surgery, facial plastic surgery, body contouring

James H. French

3299 Woodburn Rd., Annandale; 703-560-2850; also Chevy Chase

Special interest in facial, breast, and abdominal surgery

Roger J. Friedman

11210 Old Georgetown Rd., North Bethesda;  301-881-7770

Special interest in facial rejuvenation, rhinoplasty, breast and body contouring

Wendy R. Gottlieb

1800 Town Center Dr., Reston; 703-668-9499

Special interest in breast reconstruction, breast and body aesthetic surgery, facial cosmetic surgery

Catherine Hannan

2440 M St., NW; 202-785-4187; also Northwest DC

Special interest in breast, body, and facial rejuvenation

Kathy Huang

11210 Old Georgetown Road, North Bethesda;  301-881-7770

Special interest in breast augmentation, reduction, lift, and reconstruction; body contouring

Philip Iorianni

10810 Connecticut Ave., Kensington; 301-929-7100

A. Dean Jabs

6430 Rockledge Dr., Bethesda; 301-265-5242

Special interest in facelift, breast augmentation

Joanne J. Lenert

2300 M St., NW; 202-741-3242

Special interest in breast reconstruction, reconstruction after major weight loss, body contouring

Sheilah A. Lynch

5530 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase; 301-652-5933; also Easton

Special interest in face and neck rejuvenation, body contouring, tummy tuck

Derek Masden

106 Irving St., NW; 202-877-3300

Vineet Mehan

2755 Hartland Rd., Falls Church; 703-544-8971

Alex N. Mesbahi

7601 LewinsvilleRd., McLean; 703-287-8277; also downtown DC

Special interest in body contouring

Joseph Michaels

11404 Old Georgetown Rd., North Bethesda; 301-468-5991; also Fairfax

Special interest in body contouring, plastic surgery after weight loss, cosmetic breast surgery

Talal A. Munasifi

1635 N. George Mason Dr., Arlington; 703-841-0399

Maurice Nahabedian

7601 Lewinsville Rd., McLean; 703-287-8277; also downtown DC

Special interest in breast augmentation, reduction, and reconstruction

Marilyn Nguyen

1625 N. George Mason Dr., Arlington; 703-717-4217

Special interest in breast reconstruction

Michael Olding

2300 M St., NW; 202-741-3241

Lauren Patrick

2440 M St., NW; 202-785-4187

Special interest in cosmetic surgery of the face, breast, and body; Botox and other injectables

Troy Pittman

2440 M St., NW; 202-810-7700

Special interest in breast augmentation, mastopexy

Praful Ramineni

2440 M St., NW; 202-785-4187

Special interest in cosmetic, reconstructive, and transgender surgery

Chun (Chris) Rhim

8008 Westpark Dr., McLean; 703-928-7460

Alexander Sailon

6801 Whittier Ave., McLean; 703-783-4858; also Chevy Chase, Woodbridge

Special interest in rhinoplasty; reconstructive surgery of the face, breast, and body

Sarah Sher

3800 Reservoir Rd., NW; 202-444-7073; also Olney

Special interest in breast reconstruction and reduction, abdominoplasty

Navin Singh

7601 Lewinsville Rd., McLean; 703-345-4377; also Chevy Chase.

Special interest in “mommy makeover,” facelift, laser liposuction

Michael T. Somenek

2440 M St., NW; 202-810-7700

Special interest in rhinoplasty, revision rhinoplasty, facelift

Yongsook Victoria Suh

8503 Arlington Blvd., Fairfax; 703-293-5010

Special interest in face and body cosmetic surgery, breast augmentation and reduction, facelift.

Mark L. Venturi

7601 Lewinsville Rd., McLean; 703-287-8277; also downtown DC

Special interest in cosmetic surgery of the face, breast, and body; pre-pectoral and DIEP-flap breast reconstruction; correction of breast animation deformity

Khalique Zahir

3301 Woodburn Rd., Annandale; 703-208-0783; also Ashburn, Bethesda

Special interest in cosmetic and hand surgery

Mimi Montgomery Washingtonian
Associate Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. Her work has appeared in Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Petworth.