Celebrities Are About to Return to Work Looking Very Refreshed

Getty / angel_nt Mario Tama and Photo Illustration: Ava Cruz

Between vigorous filming schedules, months-long promotional tours, and frequent run-ins with the paparazzi, actors rarely get a break from the limelight. When they do find themselves with ample time off and an excuse to stay shuttered inside – as is the case right now with the SAG-AFTRA strike – many have been flocking to operating rooms to cross off one or two long-standing wish-list procedures.

In July, actors who are part of the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) joined the members of the Writers Guild of America to fight for fair pay, putting a pause on all work, both in front of and behind the camera of TV shows, films, and talk shows. As a result, many up-and-coming or lesser-known actors are struggling to make ends meet. Meanwhile, there are others who are more established in the industry who are biding their time during this negotiation period – and taking advantage of a few uninterrupted months of privacy.

“We typically see major spikes in procedures during any hiatus, like a strike, in Hollywood,” Ashkan Ghavami, MD, a board-certified cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, CA, tells POPSUGAR. Jonathan Kanevsky, MD, another board-certified plastic surgeon, adds, “There have definitely been more consultations from people in the industry who are wanting to use this break to their advantage.”

Not only is there more free time to squeeze in a surgery, but there’s also ample room for recovery. “It’s very common for people to get procedures that require more downtime when they’re more available, and I have seen that just in the last month or two,” says Dennis Dass, MD, board-certified plastic surgeon and American Society of Plastic Surgeons member. For the surgeons, it’s nice not only because it means more business is coming in but also because they don’t have to “work within such tight time constraints,” as Dr. Ghavami explains, as they normally would with high-profile cases.

“It’s very similar to COVID where there was this big boom of people.”

This isn’t the first time this has happened. This plastic-surgery boom in Hollywood is very similar to what happened in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. “My team and I were shocked by how many people wanted to have surgery, even when we were not allowed to have our doors open,” Dr. Ghavami says. “We had to say no to a lot of people during the early days.”

However, once shelter-in-place orders were lifted, it opened the floodgates. “It’s very similar to COVID where there was this big boom of people who had waited for years and were like, ‘Well, I can’t do anything else, so I might as well address these things I’ve been waiting to do,'” says Kelly Killeen, MD, double board-certified plastic surgeon and American Society of Plastic Surgeons member. The pandemic lockdown allowed celebrities to hide during recovery without raising any suspicions. “They didn’t have to go into the office or the studios then, and I’m seeing the same thing right now,” Dr. Dass says. “It makes sense – when you have the time and you’re available, you make the best use of it.”

Of course, the strikes aren’t affecting everyone equally. While there’s a handful of A-listers who will barely feel the effects of a couple of extra months off, there are far more people struggling to make ends meet without a paycheck. Though the upper echelon is trying to squeeze in surgeries before work resumes, there’s another group having a polar-opposite experience.

“I’m seeing patients who are not the high-income earners in the industry who are canceling their surgeries because they have worries about income going forward,” Dr. Killeen says. “Patients who scheduled their breast reduction three months ago when they were supposed to be on hiatus are now concerned that they might not be going back in the fall.”

“Hopefully, when they get back from the strikes, people just see them and think, ‘Oh, you got a nice break; you took care of yourself.'”

Those who can afford to, both in time and money, are not hesitating. As far as the exact surgeries people are getting, nothing is off limits. “Every procedure that I do from head to calves has seen an increase during this hiatus,” Dr. Ghavami says. At Dr. Dass and Dr. Killeen’s practices, they’re seeing a lot of facial procedures like facelifts and eyelid lifts. Dr. Kanevsky notes his practice is seeing an uptick in liposuction and body contouring and predicts this will only continue as we head into fall. “In the summer, it’s hard to wear [post-procedure] garments, so that should start picking up again in the cooler months,” Dr. Dass says.

All of the experts agree that if celebrities have the means and the desire, now is the perfect time to go under the knife. “Whether it’s cosmetic or considered reconstructive, like a breast reduction, all of these procedures have a bit of downtime,” Dr. Killeen says. Post-op, not only are there physical signs to deal with like swelling and bruising, but there are also many limitations as far as activity goes – exercising, heavy lifting, and other strenuous things are often off the table.

“When we’re talking about actors, in particular, they’re watched by the public, and if they are filming or doing press, they don’t want to be seen in recovery from a plastic-surgery procedure,” Dr. Killeen says.

Dr. Ghavami adds that oftentimes, celebrities don’t spend enough time in recovery. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen celebrities be out in public too soon after surgery. The general population doesn’t understand the true healing process, so when they see these patients make appearances too soon after surgery, the public is quicker to offer negative feedback.”

The recovery time needed for a plastic-surgery procedure varies based both on what’s done and the individual patient. On average, Dr. Dass says, it takes at least a month until you are mostly healed. For the first two weeks, he tells his patients to “hide out,” as they’ll be swollen and bruised. After that, most people will “look normal enough” but the changes may still be noticeable to close contacts. It’s at the four-week mark that normal life can resume. “They don’t look operated on at that point; they just look younger and refreshed,” he says.

For celebrities, who are often heavily scrutinized by the public, having more time to recover may be the best-case scenario. “Hopefully, when they get back from the strikes, people just see them and think, ‘Oh, you got a nice break; you took care of yourself,'” Dr. Dass says.

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