A 36-year-old single woman, with no partner but close family, forced by isolation to live and work from home since March 2020 and working for a male-dominated company, had ‘aesthetica’ breast surgery in February 2019. At her annual post-op visit she was happy with a very acceptable result from a very poor starting pojnt. There was a marginal bottoming out of the left breast that was noted but was not of concern to the patient.
Since the COVID-19 lockdown she has missed the usual workplace banter and social interactions that were so part of her everyday routine. She is adamant that the mandatory self isolation has caused her to critically reflect upon her result and has affected her mentally, causing high anxiety levels. Prior to lockdown she was fine, but after six months of the same she has been affected to the point that unnecessary risky surgery is now being contemplated.
Such a case is not unique, and ‘COVID-19 Isolation Syndrome’ has seriously affected our aesthetic surgery patients. Now we hear that there is a £10 billion NHS budget to continue priority for NHS cases in independent hospitals, I am more than ever seriously worried about the psychological well being of our aesthetic surgery patients. Surely it is time to generate sufficient resource to the NHS sites and get the NHS doctors working where they should be, so that we can return to caring properly for the psychological wellbeing of our patients?