Ask the Experts – Skin Innovations and Augmentations: A Conversation with Dr. Waqqas Jalil and Dr. Ron Somogyi from FORM Face + Body

We all know the New Year is often the time for resolutions – big and small. Due to the increase in our ability to work from home, there’s been a spike in virtual spaces such as Google hangouts, Zoom meetings and FaceTime. Never before have we spent so much time consistently scrutinizing our own image — It’s no wonder that spending much of our day staring at ourselves on-screen has caused a huge uptick in the number of procedures and ‘tweakments’ people are seeking out. 

With the global esthetics market projected to reach 15.9 billion by 2025, up from 9.4 billion in 2020, we reached out to Dr. Jalil and Dr. Somogyi from FORM Face + Body, to get their insights on the latest trends and treatments for 2022.

Do you see a spike in office appointments in the new year?

We all know that the new year is a time for resolutions. Often, these involve taking better care of ourselves. This certainly impacts a full-service plastic surgery practice like ours. Patients may start exercising more and come to us to help look after facial rejuvenation. Patients may start eating better, losing weight and come to us to discuss body contouring. These types of resolutions all naturally increase the number of patients we see early in the new year and then again prior to summer-time when people expect to be recovered prior to June, July and August. 

What do you predict the largest skin trends will be in 2022?

People are really looking to be brighter, fresher and overall happier looking. It’s been a very hard two years with minimal social interaction. Sitting inside, often by yourself has really taken a toll on the way people look and feel. People want to “put their best face forward“ when they come out. The trends these days are not for the “over-done”, “surgical” appearance, but rather natural healthy-looking skin. We’ve also tried hard, as a speciality, to educate patients on the life-long journey of healthy skin and body. As a result, patients now understand that it’s not about the surgery alone, it’s about the aftercare and maintenance. We foresee the major trend in 2022 to focus more on ‘the whole picture’ – treatments or surgery will address a major concern, and then patients will focus more on maintaining their results via choosing the proper skin care, and opting for Botox and Fillers.

How do you predict these last two years, and an increase in Zoom meetings and tech hangouts, have changed the landscape in your industry?

There is no question about this… from a practical perspective, our comfort level with virtual meetings has made the virtual consultation an incredibly useful tool. At FORM, we have a new online questionnaire as well as online medical history and a 3-D imaging program. All of these can be completed by patients in the comfort of their own homes to be followed by a virtual video consultation on our own platform. These are all features of patient education and surgical planning that we may never have been forced to put in place. It has allowed patients to be incredibly efficient, especially those that are looking for our services from far away. We regularly have patients coming in from provinces across Canada and now that we have a virtual platform available we have found their consultation, pre-op and post-care can be done efficiently, safely and without needless travel back and forth. A huge benefit for people looking for specialized services from remote areas. We can also follow our patients in a more continuous way using some of these virtual technologies. Patients coming in for yearly or bi-annual checkups can now avoid a doctor’s office and stay in the comfort of their own home. 

Overall, this new technology makes for safer outcomes, more confident patients and excellent results. We love seeing our patients in person more than anything else, but the virtual world has certainly made us more accessible and we are happy to accommodate.

What was the biggest change you saw in desired treatments during the pandemic?

This is really twofold; We are lucky to have a full-service practise that is both surgical and nonsurgical. On the non-surgical side, we have seen a tremendous increase in facial rejuvenation procedures. This can start with a simple but very effective skincare routine to brighten facial features or deal with visible ageing or minor imperfections that people are much more aware of while staring into Zoom cameras. More intensive treatments with light therapy, micro-needling or radiofrequency have also become more popular for patients that want to make a bigger difference to these same concerns.

On the surgical side, we have seen a significant increase in surgery that would normally have a longer recovery and may be difficult for patients to coordinate with their work schedule. The reality is that people are home, on Zoom, etc. and can now recover in a very comfortable, pressure-free environment. Most of our patients can now have quite significant surgery, take one week off of work and complete the next few weeks of their recovery while working comfortably at home.

Has this changed your business or your approach at all?

Our business approach has always been to meet the needs of our patients in the best way possible. With the increase in both non-surgical and surgical procedures, we have reacted by building upon our already incredible team. We have spent the last year and a half building and growing this team to look after increased demands. Sometimes more patients can result in less attention per patient. To ensure that we never sacrifice the tremendous attention we can devote to each patient, we have expanded the team. We now have two full-time nurses to help with surgical recovery, educate our patients and deliver many of the non-surgical treatments. We have increased our administrative staff and online resources to help get patients booked in faster and when it’s convenient for them. In the last few years, we instituted a text-based software that helps with appointment confirmations, answering routine or simple pre/post-op questions with rapid turnaround time. In the past, patients would phone doctor’s offices, leave a voicemail and not get a return call for days. We have tried our best to avoid this practice as we understand sometimes patients just want to send a quick text and get a quick reply! After the success of this, we further applied this model of convenience by making many of our services as accessible as possible online. This can include intake questionnaires, virtual imaging, consultation and of course our amazing online store.

What do you love about the work you do?

I would say Diversity, Challenge and Satisfaction. These apply to both the patients and the procedures! What we do today as Plastic Surgeons is relevant to just about every person from every different background in one way or another. Whether it’s reconstructive work or purely cosmetic, everyone can make significant, meaningful improvements to their lives with the work that we do. On a personal level, every single patient and every single day for us is completely different and presents an exciting new challenge. Even though the procedure may have the same name, the very fact that we are performing this procedure on a unique individual means that the procedure needs to be completely individualized. 

The challenge of understanding our patient’s specific and unique goals is tailoring a procedure or treatment to meet those goals. That in of itself can be an exciting and rewarding challenge. 

Finally, when you go into medicine, your goal is to help people. Oftentimes you are trying to save someone from “something” and they may not understand or appreciate exactly what a physician is doing or accomplishing.  

In plastic surgery, however, the results are visible to the patient and everyone else around them. Our patients are incredibly happy and we get to watch amazing transformations in their quality of life, outlook and confidence every single day. As a Plastic Surgeon, it can not be emphasized enough just how incredibly rewarding seeing out this process from start to finish can be!

What is the most common treatment requested in your office?

This is a constantly evolving trend but right now we see a lot of patients interested in non-surgical facial rejuvenation. Within this, Botox would be the most common followed by injectable fillers then facial rejuvenation using light therapy or radiofrequency.

From a surgical perspective, we are doing a lot of breast and body surgery that can require a longer recovery vs our non-surgical options. The feasibility of this recovery is much more doable considering patients can now recover while they work from home. A lot of our procedures are routine and although we recommend avoiding strenuous physical activity for 2-4 weeks after most breast/body surgery, most patients are able to resume their desk jobs within 7-10 days or sooner. 

Are you noticing a trend in “younger” people looking to be treated?

Definitely! Plastic surgery and associated treatments used to be reserved for the older, well-established, perhaps wealthier patient. Today, we have positioned ourselves within the beauty space that speaks to a healthy, confident, vibrant lifestyle whose goal is to produce the very best version of that patient. We are no longer aiming to provide results that are “done“ or “obvious” to others. We spend a lot of time discussing goals and working with patients to understand what natural results can look like.

Our patients are looking for natural results which are applicable to any age. Additionally, patients are becoming more aware of what we can do from a preventative and maintenance standpoint. This is extremely important in the younger patients who want to age in a much more comfortable and confident way. Younger patients now understand that using many of the products and treatments that we now commonly prescribe, will help them to achieve this goal.

Is there anything you are really excited about on the tech front that is coming down the pipeline?

We have always been experts in body contouring but recent advances in radiofrequency technology that can be combined during surgery are now giving us the ability to make significant improvements to the quality of overlying skin. This is commonly referred to as Surgical Skin Tightening.

In the past, we could perform a beautiful liposuction-based procedure to remove excess fat from unwanted areas. Our concern, however, was always the overlying skin which doesn’t always tighten up as much as we would like. Some of the new technologies on the market that we are using commonly and expect to use even more, use various mediums that produce heat internally thus allowing the skin to shrink and tighten. This is done during the same surgical procedure so that the patient wakes up with a beautiful contour and healthy overlying skin.

Lastly, something that we are using currently and are extremely excited about is our new 3-D software that allows our patients seeking Breast Augmentation or Rhinoplasty a rendered image of what their post-surgical outcome can look like. This software has spiked in popularity with our patients who are curious as to what their individual outcomes will look like. We predict that as this technology advances it will become suitable for more areas of the body and aesthetic procedures. 

As we head into month 2 of 2022, if the thought of changing or modifying your look sparks joy (ala Marie Kondo), then we say, “go for it!” But if procedures aren’t your cup of tea, sometimes self-care comes in the form of prioritizing your skincare routine, staying hydrated, and reminding yourself that what you see in the mirror is only a small piece of who you are. 

For more information on FORM Face & Body, Dr. Jalil and Dr. Somogyi, visit their website and Instagram pages!