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COVID-19 Restart Plan for Plastic Surgeons

As the United States reopens for business, you need a plan so read this COVID-19 Restart Plan for Plastic surgeons so you are set up to win once you reopen your practice
to cosmetic patients.

If you want to talk to me personally about your own plan, schedule a Complimentary 30-Minute Strategy Call with me by clicking here.

Plastic Surgeon COVID-19 Survey Results

Growing a cosmetic practice as we know it, has changed…big time thanks to COVID-19.

I surveyed plastic surgeons from around the US to learn their concerns about restarting their practices post-COVID-19 and here are the main anxieties you are dealing with:

  • The health and safety of your staff and patients.
  • Your cash flow that abruptly came to a halt and you’re wondering if it’s coming back
  • Refunding booked surgeries if the patients are scared to move forward
  • The uncertainty of patients still wanting surgery due to the fear and economic uncertainties they face
  • Bringing back your staff and hoping you have enough patient flow to keep them productive and your overhead manageable
  • Taking appropriate precautions to protect you, your staff and your patients, while also seeing enough
    patients to be profitable.

While these concerns are warranted, there’s always a way to turn things around so let’s continue…


After interviewing several surgeons on my podcast, “Beauty and the Biz”, attending medical society webinars and watching White House briefings, here are my own predictions….. 

Demand for Cosmetic Procedures

There will be an initial surge of cosmetic patients who believe they NEED cosmetic rejuvenation. They have been stuck at home and want to get back to looking good and feeling great.

There will be a certain group of cosmetic patients who wanted cosmetic surgery but will now settle for non-surgical treatments to tide them over until they feel safe and financially secure.

But then what? Will the demand return as before? I believe that will take some time. Just like it did in the 2001 and 2008 Recessions.

The demand for cosmetic rejuvenation is still there by all accounts; however, we don’t know how many consumers will be afraid, or unable, to spend big dollars on surgical cases.


Some of the 22K med spas and some practices that were underfunded won’t survive.

Of those that do survive, many will drop their prices to attract patients; further, commoditizing this industry.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to differentiate you as educated, skilled & experienced.

Do not be shy about showing off your surgical degrees, before/after photos and awards so patients can see why you are a better choice.

New Safety Guidelines Limit You

covid 19 restart plan

You can’t have a crowded reception area so you can’t see as many patients. What does that mean for your revenues?

As a solution, you could extend your hours to make up for it; however, that will increase your overhead so do the math before deciding.

Marketing for New Cosmetic Patients

You won’t be able to spend as freely to attract new cosmetic patients unless you’re getting a great return on your investment (ROI) or you’ll run out of cash. That means no more “ego/brand advertising”.

My advice to you is: “If you can’t track the results, don’t spend the money.”

Plastic Surgery Virtual Consultations

covid 19 restart plan

For those surgeons who have embraced this, virtual consultations have proven to be successful and will become

mainstream because cosmetic patients will demand it for consultations as well as post/pre op visits.

Put a process together to orchestrate a virtual consult just as you do in real life.

However, I suggest putting parameters around it. For now, these consults should be free but then charge to avoid no-shows once we are out of the woods.

COVID-19 Restart PracticePlan Strategies for Plastic Surgeons

Ok, that’s the bad news. But like everything else in life, it’s your choice how you REACT to this. If you keep your growth mindset in check and be smart, you will overcome this challenge just like you have other challenges in your life.

I implore you to think logically and NOT emotionally at this time, using the strategies below to restart your practice:

Strategy #1: Target Market the Best Cosmetic Patients

We don’t know how many consumers can still afford your services.

We do know unemployment has hit an all-time high so that means, you want to “target market” more than ever before.

covid 19 restart plan

Obviously, discretionary income will take a huge hit for the foreseeable future, so answer this question:

Who is most likely affected and least likely to be affected by economic dips?

Focus on the latter group who have the financial wherewithal to not only weather the economic storm but also have the resources to move forward with cosmetic rejuvenation.

Every marketing & advertising dollar counts so prioritize:

  • Current active patients who have given you money before
  • Old patients who know you but haven’t been in for awhile
  • Those who came in for consults but didn’t book surgery
  • New patients who don’t know you yet AND have the financial wherewithal to afford your services (target high-income zip codes, homeowners, professionals)

Strategy #2: Build Your Brand

When an industry is saturated with a supply of cosmetic rejuvenation providers including plastic surgeons, cosmetic surgeons, general surgeons, non-specialty doctors, NP’s, RNs, PAs, laser techs and aestheticians…..

…….You don’t compete on price. You compete on your brand.

covid 19 restart plan

However, your brand is NOT just your Website. It’s only one piece of the puzzle of YOU.

It’s the personality of your practice and a promise to your patients.

Your brand relays your values, how you communicate your services, what you want consumers to feel when they interact with you, your staff and your practice processes.

As Jeff Bezos of Amazon says,

“Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

Your brand = Trust + Safety + Helping others so here’s what you do:

Safety: Make videos, checklists, statements talking about all the precautions you have put into place to protect your staff and patients from the virus.

Trust: Differentiate you with your education, experience, skill that others can’t compare to when it comes to choosing the best provider.

Helping others: Show you have a generous heart with pro-bono efforts and giving back to your community.

Strategy #3: Cosmetic Patient Marketing Content

Now is the time to adopt quality over quantity in procedures and patients.

Focus on marketing the procedures you can do in-house and that give you the most profit using the least amount of resources and drop everything else for now.

AND, review which referral sources give you the most revenues (not the most traffic) but the most paid procedures.

Keep in Touch with Current Patients

covid 19 restart plan

The patients who already know, like and trust you are always your best audience so stay connected to them via email, text and social media.

Give them reasons to like, share, comment on your content so other prospective patients, like them, will choose you as well (see examples below):

Reach New Prospective Plastic Surgery Patients

The whole world just went digital so please adapt to it, so you don’t get left behind.

BUT, be sensitive with your messaging.

Since marketing plastic surgery during COVID-19 is touchy and could hurt your brand, your #1 objective is to build your brand and your list – NOT to market and sell your services.

You do that with the 3 E’s:


The goal is to enter the conversation your patients are already having in their heads that you need to address such as:

Show your concern for patient and staff safety more than promoting your services that could hurt your brand if you look greedy and insensitive.


You still have a huge population stuck on home and online all day looking around for answers to their questions. Do Q&A videos for each procedure and offer a free virtual consult during this time.


Get attention and stand out by showing different facets of yourself so prospective patients get to know you better. Examples include you in the kitchen cooking for the family, how you stay fit, show off your dog tricks, etc.

Strategy #4: How to Reach New Plastic Surgery Patients


Social Media is not free. You think you are posting and reaching your patients but, in reality, only 5-10% of them are actually seeing your content.

Just like you had to pay for ads in newspapers, radio and TV, you have to pay for ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube.

But that takes money, creativity, experience and patience. You have to kiss A LOT of frogs to get that one princess who gives you money. That’s just the reality.

Content Strategies

While you are well within your rights to promote your services, please be sensitive to the fears and challenges of the cosmetic consumer patient.

Start out easy and keep it light at first.

Award cosmetic patients with a gift card toward their first post-COVID-19 treatment if they do any of the following:


Ask 3 simple questions to get a feel for where patients’ mindsets are at with things like:

  • What do you miss the most: Botox or Fillers?
  • Will you wait or come back now?
  • What’s your post-COVID-19 Wishlist?

covid 19 restart plan


  • Best face mask
  • Best Botox wear-off photo
  • Best home exercise
  • Best free app

Patients Stories:

Build up your social proof by encouraging your current patients to share their own journey, with photos, to help other prospective patients get comfortable with cosmetic rejuvenation.

Have your patient explain why they wanted plastic surgery, why they chose you (that’s why others will choose you too), what the process was like and how great they feel now.

They should post it on their social media platforms and then you be sure to reply with a thank you 😉

Strategy #5: Improve Your Patient Experience + Processes

Use this forced downtime to your advantage by working ON your practice since you can’t work IN your practice.

Meet with your staff on a Zoom conference call and go through each step of the Patient Experience from A-Z.

You are looking for the holes that lose callers and consultations and keep patients from returning and referring, as well as wastes your time and money for no good reason.

Lead Gen | Convert Calls | Convert Consults | Follow Up | Reviews | Referrals | Retain


This COVID-19 Restart Pivot Plan above will keep you in the game, so you are in great shape to thrive when the dust settles.

But it’s up to you if you’re going to execute these growth strategies or sit back and wait for things to get better on their own (they won’t).

My team and I are happy to do the work for you if you don’t want to but please get it done. Your future depends on it.

I hope this was helpful to you and I look forward to your feedback –

P.S. It’s difficult to think clearly when you are emotionally charged with fear: How can I bring in revenues? Can I afford to bring my staff back? Will the patients return? and so on.

That’s why it’s helpful to speak to someone who has perspective and distance who can objectively help you think through things, so you come up with a practical plan of action to get you through to the other side.

Feel free to text me at (415) 851-0172 or click below to schedule online, a day/time we can connect. Stay Safe!

catherine-maley-book- 1


A Complete Guide to Understanding Your Aesthetic Patient and Growing Your Aesthetic Practice. Catherine Maley, MBA went straight to the aesthetic patient to get the answers you need to succeed with your patients.


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Catherine Maley

Catherine is a business/marketing consultant to plastic surgeons. She speaks at medical conferences all over the world on practice building, marketing and the business side of plastic surgery. Get a Free Copy of her popular book, Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Are Saying View Author Profile.

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