Plastic surgery on the rise as patients use COVID-19 masks to hide

Between social distancing and continued closures, New York City can feel limiting. But there’s one group of locals who has found freedom in wearing masks.

“I probably would have put getting my neck tightened on hold if I didn’t have the mask,” said Maggie, 34, who asked that her last name be withheld. “I don’t need everyone talking about it.” The stay-at-home mom from Long Island had the procedure done on Thursday and says that, normally, she would have had to come up with excuses for avoiding her friends so they wouldn’t see the tell-tale wounds.

Multiple patients told The Post that the obligatory mask has been the biggest benefit of getting work done now, even convincing those on the fence about getting a nose job or facelift to go ahead.

“I had been thinking about it for a long time. The mask was a bonus,” said Aja Carthon, a 24-year-old teacher from Stuyvesant Heights who had a $20,000 rhinoplasty and chin implant procedure last month. “I definitely would not have been sociable if it weren’t for the mask. But I did coffee and dinner with friends, I went to a backyard party … no one suspected anything.”

Upper East Side facial plastic surgeon Dr. Jennifer Levine has seen several patients motivated by masking up.

“It allows people to have a seamless recovery — they don’t have to hide,” she said. “It makes them feel a lot less self-conscious entering the healing process knowing they’re not on display.”

Once doctors’ offices reopened earlier this summer after a forced city shutdown, plastic surgeons say they could hardly keep up with demand for nips and tucks for months. A NYC doctor told The Post that, in July, he recorded his busiest month in his nine years of practice.

Dr. Stafford Broumand, a Park Avenue-based plastic surgeon, said he’s seen double the interest for neck liposuction — starting at $5,000 — in the past three months.

“Facelifts, neck skin tightening, fat grafting, Botox … You can walk around town with a mask without anyone knowing,” he told The Post.

Erica DeOliveira, who had a nose job and injections done earlier this summer, even found a way to use the mask for Zoom meetings: She left her house and took her laptop to a nearby park. “I was able to hide from everyone,” said the 40-year-old marketing executive from the Upper East Side. “My mom didn’t even know I had the procedures.”

She ’fessed up a few weeks later when she visited her folks in New Jersey sans mask and they started looking over old family photos.

“My mother kept looking at the pictures and back at me and finally said, ‘You look different.’”

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