With more people using technology these days than ever before and Facetiming, using Zoom or other video chat platforms, seeing your face up-close is bringing people to wanting to make changes.
Because of these changes people want to make to their faces, cosmetic surgeons such as Dr. Daria Hamrah of NOVA SurgiCare and others are seeing more patients than ever before during the COVID pandemic.
Dr. Hamrah, a double board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon just outside of the Washington, DC area spoke to us about new trends happening due to the pandemic and advice to those wanting to go under the knife in the future.
- What new trends in the cosmetic surgery world have you been seeing these days?
As to trends, If you are asking me about surgical trends, the most common is “facial slimming” like buccal fat pad removal (removing cheek fat), non-surgical face and neck tightening procedures and liposuction of the double chin to contour the jawline and nose reshaping. The uptick of these procedures is due to people opening more time in front of the computer screen on FaceTime or ZOOm calls. I think the above trends will continue as people have simply become “hyper-aware” of their facial aesthetics and will continue to do so as video conferencing and “FaceTiming” using various platforms like ZOOM, FaceTime, Facebook and Instagram have found their place in our society and have become a mainstay of the way we communicate today and in the future. The pandemic has opened the doors for these breakthrough technologies to prove themselves as a more efficient way of communication and in my opinion, they are there to stay. We don’t have to fly cross country for meetings or physically go into a remote office 5 days a week anymore. Imagine how much time and money people save that way! The pandemic has certainly taught us much in that regard. I literally have patients coming to me saying: “I am not spending as much money on my commute anymore and now have the money to spend on myself, something I always wanted to do!”.
But let us not forget another trend that started “pre-pandemic”, which is the increase in health consciousness and fitness in our society and that trend is across generations. With that many of us want to look the way feel and defy the forces of nature and aging. Lastly, the rise and reach of social media in the past 5 years has created an environment where everyone feels they are in competition with one another and want to look and present their best.
- How have you been able to have what you can offer people standout in such a busy marketplace with so many other surgeons now popping up?
Results, results, and results! In our business, results don’t lie. They create happy patients and raving fans. Like any other business, ultimately you are judged by your results. Part of it is also how you make your patients feel. When you genuinely care about your patients and their results, not only you will do your best, but your patients will also see it. They see the results and they see and feel how much you care about them. What most forget is that people come to me not just to look better, but most importantly to feel better. So, it is also about their entire experience, from the moment they call our office and interact with my top-notch staff to the time they see me during the consultation and feel genuine care and then just trust the process. Of course, in the end, I still have to deliver the results in order to meet their expectations. As to accomplishing that, communication is the key. Knowing what my patient’s expectations are prior to any surgery or procedure is key to success and their happiness. I feel that this is one of the aspects that sets me apart from my colleagues as I love to listen to my patients and understand what bothers them and what makes them really happy. At the end of the day, when it comes to the operating room, it’s pure execution of the treatment plan. And of course, talent and experience determine the final outcome.
But honestly, I never worry about my competition or what others do, for that matter. It is completely irrelevant to what my passion and goal are. I am too focused on what I am doing and so far it has been the secret to my success. This is the same advice I always give to my younger colleagues and even my own children. Focus on your own work and worry less about what others might be doing. It’s only a distraction.
- What advice would you give to people wanting to go under the knife?
Do your research and educate yourself about your doctor’s specialty and area of expertise before you jump into a decision. Also, get at least 3 opinions from experts that do a lot of the procedure that you will need. Many of us, have done different residency and fellowship programs with a lot of overlap in the areas of the face and body that we treat. For example, a rhinoplasty can be performed by a plastic surgeon, ear nose and throat surgeon, or a maxillofacial surgeon with fellowship training in cosmetic surgery like in my case. But still, within all these specialties, all of us have our favorite procedures and techniques we excel at because we have both the passion and talent for them. So it’s not as generic as people might think. One could be the best facelift surgeon in the world, but not so good at rhinoplasties. In my case, I love doing both because I am passionate about both, but also, all I do is surgeries of the face and neck and not the body. Another one might be really talented in breast augmentations but hate rhinoplasties, yet still, offer them. You cannot be “jack of all traits”, I don’t care who you are. The more of a particular procedure you perform, the more experience you will gain in it, and ultimately the better you will get at it. That simple.
- What trends in plastics do you see happening in the near future? What new technologies do you see coming out?
I was very fortunate to have had one of the world’s best mentors who taught me the importance of open-mindedness as well as scientific skepticism. Although very cautious and skeptic about new technologies in medicine, especially in today’s world where every year a new company promises a paradigm shift and revolutionary device, I never jump on new technology unless I have understood the science and seen reproducible results. But one of the true revolutionary devices that have opened the door for non-surgical tightening of the facial and neck skin is the “bipolar radio-frequency device”. I was an early adopter last year because I had seen stunning results that in the right patient with the right indication compared to surgical results. With this device I can simply remove fat from the face and neck and tighten the skin to remove a double chin, sagging of the jowls, lower eyelid skin, and neck. The beauty of this technology is that you can transform a patient within fifteen to twenty minutes without any downtime and all non-surgically. Two years ago, this was unimaginable. So, looking at these emerging technologies, I think that we will continue to use them as an aid and not a replacement of traditional surgical procedures to make things faster, safer, and more predictable with minimum downtime and risk. Also looking at AI, we are currently researching its use in helping us make predictions in surgical outcomes and helping us to formulate more consistent treatment plans in order to improve our surgical outcomes. It is a very exciting time since technology is moving faster than ever. We had more advances in the past 5 years than we had in 20 years.
- What other industries or products related to what you do would you invest in right now?
I never give people any advice when it comes to investments as we all have different goals, passions, and risk tolerance. But I can tell you that personally, I would never invest in anything I have no knowledge about. Anytime I invest in anything, I do many hours of research and unless I fully understand the dynamics or believe in whatever product or technology it is, I do not invest. It’s too risky and would be like gambling. When you have gone to school for 15 years (after high school) and work hard every day for your money, you think twice ( or should think twice) about where you put your money. Some call me conservative and others call me brave. But the reality is, I only take calculated risks.