How do plastic surgeons and medispas serve their clients and patients from a distance? The best in the biz share how they're facing the challenge.
Dr. Carolyn Chang
Shelter-in-place orders are pushing businesses of all kinds to adapt in order to thrive. Case in point: Even Bay Area plastic surgeons and aestheticians, whose jobs are normally the epitome of hands-on, are coming up with creative solutions to address current and prospective clients’ concerns from afar.
Among them is top-rated, Stanford-trained plastic surgeon Dr. Carolyn Chang (415.923.3070, drcarolynchang.com). Although her Pacific Heights office remains open so she can care for her postoperative patients, elective surgeries at hospitals are temporarily suspended (to the chagrin of patients who’d like to use the time to heal far from prying eyes). So, between office visits, Chang’s trying something new: virtual consultations. “I have to say that I surprisingly enjoyed it very much and I think the patients did too,” she says of her first go. “I think they feel a greater sense of undivided personal intimate attention from me and a greater sense of privacy and comfort and less pressure.” While they can’t replace in-person visits entirely, the consultations will likely become part of Chang’s regular practice. “This would expedite things for many people, especially my Silicon Valley clientele who find the traffic so intimidating and time consuming,” she says.
Dr. David Lieberman and Dr. Sachin Parikh
On the Peninsula, double board-certified cosmetic facial plastic surgeons David Lieberman and Sachin Parikh of L&P Aesthetics (650.327.3232, fortheface.com) are similarly limiting in-person appointments to surgical follow-ups and reconstructions. But, like Chang, they report that demand for aesthetic consults remains strong. Why? Perhaps people sheltering in place are finding more time to research procedures or to finally book that service they've been putting off. Or perhaps it's what the surgeons are calling the "Zoom effect": the result of staring at oneself on a computer screen all day long. In any case, in response, they’ve increased their virtual consultations and will offer extended hours once they reopen. Meanwhile, they are encouraging current patients to keep up their skincare routines by offering all skincare products at a discount and shipping them to patients free of charge. One upside of the downtime? “Before the outbreak, patients had to wait three months or more to book a consultation, but now we have time to book virtual consults this month,” Dr. Parikh reports.
Lynn Heublein, founder of SkinSpirit
Palo Alto-based SkinSpirit (855.383.7546, skinspirit.com), which offers facials, injectables and fillers, body treatments and other nonsurgical cosmetic treatments, is also finding ways to stay connected. The skincare clinic, which was founded by Lynn Heublein and Stanford-educated, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. M. Dean Vistnes, is enacting a two-pronged response to the unanticipated temporary closure of all of its 13 locations: one focusing on its 300 or so employees and the other on its clientele. For its staff, SkinSpirit has adopted an ambitious training calendar with daily Zoom meetings with up to 120 staffers doing deep-dives on such topics as the medical-grade products sold in the clinics. Simultaneously, the company is doubling down client outreach via social media and website, offering webinars and general skin-care tips, and encouraging its aestheticians to do the same. As a result of these efforts, says Victoria Voorhees, SkinSpirit’s director of communications, the company is confident that it will return with even better service and stronger client relationships than ever.
All of these providers emphasize that their current top priority is public health and safety. Still, their ability to pivot their services during this challenging time is good news for both their businesses and their clients, and good news is worth sharing. After all, couldn’t everyone use a little lift?
Photography by: From top: by Kathleen Harrison; courtesy of L&P Aesthetics; by Craig Lee