When Will Dermatology Offices Fully Reopen After the Coronavirus? An Expert Weighs In
If your dermatologist’s office closed due to the novel coronavirus months ago, you may be able to get in for your next routine appointment sooner rather than later. For some people, a trip to the dermatologist is a regular occurrence – whether it be for skin checks, Botox treatments, or various skin concerns – but those appointments were briefly put on hold due to COVID-19 closures.
Back in March, states across the country started rolling out stay-at-home orders to help flatten the curve of the coronavirus, temporarily shutting down nonessential businesses in the process. This included hair salons, nail salons, spas, beauty supply stores, and even some dermatology and plastic surgery offices (but not all). Because they are medical practices, many have been open at a limited capacity for emergencies, but elective procedures were off the table. For things like skin checks, acne consultations, and other non-immediate skin concerns, some dermatologists have been able to operate online by doing virtual skin consultations, but the services are limited.
“Once states, particularly New York State in my case, start allowing more elective procedures to be performed that’s when we can ease more back into the aesthetic realm of medicine,” said Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, cosmetic dermatologist and chief medical officer and founder of the PFRANKMD.
As the number of new cases in the country decreases, some states are letting their stay-at-home orders expire, allowing businesses to reopen their doors and dermatology offices to resume business as usual, sort of. Dermatology offices are in the low-risk category for COVID-19 risk exposure, and according to a reopening guide put out my the American Academy of Dermatology Association, “The federal government has noted that a downward trajectory of documented cases over a 14-day period should occur before opening practices to elective visits and procedures.”
For double-board certified plastic surgeon Melissa Doft, MD, she’s going to be prioritizing completing the backlog of urgent surgeries that COVID prevented. “These are considered level three surgeries [elective surgeries are level zero],” said Dr. Doft. “Level three surgeries would be hip fractures, breast cancer, and melanoma, which have been on hold.” After that, she’ll begin working on elective procedures.
“After June 15, we will be able to perform botox, fillers, lasers again without it being a criminal act,” said Dr. Doft. “Each provider will have to make their own decision on whether it is the right time. It is unclear at this point if all of these patients will have to be tested for COVID prior to undergoing a non-invasive procedure.”
When the dermatology and plastic surgery offices do reopen in your area, you can expect appointments to look a little different. Many states and independent practices have strict restrictions in place to ensure the safety of patients. This can include but is not limited to pre-screenings, limited capacities, facial covering requirements, and taking guests’ temperatures as they enter the office.