November 17th, 2020
Dr. Thomas Bell, MD
The new normal. Everyone is talking about it these days and we’re all trying to figure out what it’s supposed to mean. This has been particularly difficult here in Toronto and the rest of the GTA.
We all hold our breaths in the morning when we check the daily headlines and COVID-19 numbers, searching for anything that might make us feel like the old normal is somewhere on the horizon.
It has been impossible for us to look too far into the future, as Toronto goes from one phase to another. We’ve seen many of the things that we love to do taken away, given back, and then taken away again.
Through all of this chaos and uncertainty, we felt it was important to talk about exactly what we’re doing at Toronto Plastic Surgeons to adapt to the COVID-19 crisis. We’re not going to give you vague promises about how your safety is always our top priority. We want to prove it to you! We want to explain exactly what we have already done and what we are still doing.
We also want you to know that you’re in good hands! Over the past two decades, Dr. Mulholland has successfully navigated the SARS outbreak, the H1N1 crisis and now the COVID-19 pandemic – handing off his expertise and patient care to the newly appointed TPS resident doctor, Dr. Thomas Bell. It’s also important to know that his Infection Control Policy and Procedure Manual is widely known and used around the world. He has also given global lectures on how to open an aesthetic practice safely during COVID-19.
For further reading on this subject, we invite you to review our COVID-19 policy to take an even deeper dive into everything we are doing. But this blog should give you a good idea of how all our new processes will work.
Embracing Virtual Care During COVID-19
Part of the new normal involves businesses in every sector embracing teleconference and video call technology. And that has certainly been the case for plastic surgery clinics in Toronto.
You have probably already had some sort of video call with a family doctor or other health professional by now. We have transitioned our team to dedicated Virtual Care to ensure that the lines of communication stay open with our clients at all times. Even though we’re social distancing, we don’t want our staff to feel far away.
Our virtual consultations use a dedicated and PIPEDA compliant GOTO platform. This allows you to get in touch with us easily from the comfort of your own home. Most importantly, you can still see us, and we can still see you. We place a lot of value on face-to-face interactions, even when they’re done virtually.
At the same time, a lot of our pre-op and post-op care is offered virtually, which can help keep you at home and keep you safe.
Another service we are now offering virtually is our Universkin program.
Just start by uploading your photo and filling out the Universkin questionnaire. From there, our artificial intelligence will analyze your photo to select the optimal combination and strength of your active ingredients.
Our team will then compound your serums on our site and ship them directly to you.
If you have not taken advantage of our Universkin program yet, now is the perfect time to try it.
We will analyze your unique skin and select from 19 physician-strength active ingredients to create the perfect serum to meet your specific needs.
This bespoke mix can help you with conditions such as:
- Sagging skin
Many of our patients see noticeable results in just 1 week!
What to Expect Prior to Your Next Visit
We’re excited to see you! So, let’s go over a few of the new safety precautions we have in place. If you are a returning patient, you already know quite a bit about our clinic and you will probably notice quite a few changes.
As we have already mentioned, many of your preliminary meetings (including pre-op instructions) will be done online. This keeps the foot traffic in the office to a bare minimum.
Another change that you may notice is that cell phones are now strictly prohibited inside the clinic. This new rule applies to both staff members and patients. Cell phones are a significant source of viruses and other microorganisms, so we are doing everything possible to keep things clean and sterile.
A COVID-19 Nasal Swab
If you’re undergoing surgery, we will ensure that you get a pre-op COVID-19 test. But medical spa patients and those undergoing non-surgical treatments do not need a COVID-19 test.
We do require all of our surgery and hair transplantation patients to get a COVID-19 test 10 days prior to their operation.
If your COVID-19 test is positive, your procedure will be postponed. We will typically allow for 6-12 weeks for you to fully recover before your surgery is performed. Of course, there will be no financial penalty for rescheduling.
Having COVID-19 is always incredibly serious and dangerous. However, following any sort of surgery, it could compromise recovery from an otherwise routine procedure.
Getting to and From the Clinic
Following your procedure, you will not want to drive yourself home. Your reaction time and attention may be hindered by medication. Cabs and Rideshare apps are not ideal following any surgery, particularly during these complicated times.
Arranging a ride, to and from the clinic, with a friend or loved one is always best. At the same time, do your best to arrange your ride to the clinic with someone from within your family/social bubble to limit possible exposure. Also, it’s best if you’re confident that this person has been diligent about their handwashing and mask-wearing during the crisis.
Our mandate to minimize the number of people in the office also means that your driver will have to wait outside. This is the unfortunate reality facing clinics and offices in most sectors right now. We hope this will change someday soon.
When You Arrive
On the day of your surgery, you will undergo a second COVID test at our screening centre outside the clinic before you head inside. As you can see, we’re leaving nothing to chance.
This test includes a “no touch” infrared camera thermometer. Rest assured that every member of our team is also undergoing temperature checks, twice a day. After everything checks out at the screening centre, you will head inside the clinic to our concierge area.
Again, if someone drove you to our clinic, we’re afraid that they can’t accompany you inside and we will call them when you’re finished.
Our New Admission Process
Once inside, you will probably notice a much lower volume of people in the clinic. We are working hard to ensure that we’re minimizing the number of people on site, with reduced patient volume and individualized flow.
We need your help with this! We’re asking our patients to be as punctual as possible. If you are more than 5 minutes late for your appointment, we may need to reschedule the appointment to keep the traffic and volume in the clinic to a minimum.
Sterilization and sanitization are crucial right now. Our team needs ample time to sterilize each room and clean all of the equipment between treatments. When everything is running on schedule, we can avoid patient bottlenecks in any given area, while ensuring that everyone is able to maintain safe distances.
After screening, you’re not going to have to sit in a crowded waiting room anymore, thanks to the lower amount of patient traffic and our strict adherence to schedules.
Next, one of our client service representatives (wearing proper PPE) will check you in. Then, you will promptly be met by your treatment provider, who will take you right to your treatment room. You can take comfort in knowing that our staff will be wearing distancing alert pagers to ensure they stay 2 metres (6 feet apart) from each other.
During Your Actual Procedure
You’re obviously going to have to get up close and personal with your surgeon for your procedure. This makes the usual 2-metre barrier impossible. So, we compensate by using the most advanced personal protection equipment (PPE) and extra-diligent sanitization.
Our treatment staff will be protected with full and enhanced PPE including:
- Full face shields
- Wrap-around goggles
- N95 masks
- Bouffant surgical caps
- Protective gowns
Your PPE : The SafeMask
During these up-close procedures, all of our patients will be protected with a SafeMask, which is a technology that Dr. Mulholland helped bring to market with Care Stream USA (CareFilter).
The SafeMask will let you breathe comfortably, while it filters 99.999% of all viral particles from:
- Inspiratory air (the air you breathe in)
- Expiratory gases (the air you breathe out)
You will breathe comfortably through the SafeMask, while your nose is plugged during our Botox, filler, and facial energy-based treatments and peels.
Pain Management and Sedation
Your SafeMask also seamlessly connects to our nitrous oxide (AKA laughing gas) outputs to ensure proper pain management can be achieved while you’re still fully protected. This nitrous oxide gives you a natural surge of serotonin and dopamine in your brain, giving you significant pain reduction, anxiety control, and an intense sense of euphoria.
Many of our plastic surgery procedures can be done under local anesthetic and twilight sedation. Meanwhile, our large procedures can still include a general anesthetic, which is very safe if you are medically well. It will be administered by our expert anesthesiologists.
We have always taken a lot of pride in offering our clients the very best anesthesiologists in Toronto. Our team includes cardiac by-pass and transplant procedures specialists from the Toronto General Hospital. Of course, each anesthesiologist will be wearing full PPE, as well.
After Your Procedure
Your after-surgery process will also look very different. You will no longer have to wait in a crowded billing room. All payments can be taken safely in the treatment room.
Also, we will apply any necessary ice packs and go over any required post-op steps you may have to do when you get home. We no longer use air blowers, as they can aerosolize the virus.
Next, we will ask you to sanitize your hands prior to exiting, while your treatment professional makes sure that there is no one else in the hallway and it’s safe for you to leave. They will then escort you out of the clinic area.
Your ride home will have been called and notified that you are ready to go.
Our Post-op Virtual Care
This is another area where virtual tools are really helping us stay connected.
We will follow up with you:
- The day after your procedure
- 7 days after your procedure
- 14 days after your procedure
We want you to feel like we’re with you at every step of your journey.
A specialist will be checking in with you to see how you’re feeling, and ask you about the specifics of how your recovery is progressing. This also gives us a chance to field any questions that you may have. Again, we feel that these face-to-face meetings are very important, even when they’re done virtually.
Our “GoTo” online video platform is compliant with all federal health care privacy laws.
We’re Still Here For You
As you can see, we have had to re-think and re-work just about every single part of our day-to-day operations. It has been a journey and a process.
But you can rest assured knowing that our surgeons are working harder than ever to ensure that you’re safe. And we’re extremely proud of how our entire team has pulled together to adapt and evolve.
We are still very much open for business and still offering all of our most popular procedures, such as:
- Liposuction: Our energy-assisted liposuction procedure gives you all of the results, with less bruising, swelling, and pain than ever before.
- Breast Augmentation: Dr. Bell has refined and pioneered this surgery with decades of experience.
- Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) Hair Transplant: Toronto Plastic Surgeons was the first clinic in North America to master FUE transplants, and Dr. Bell has been performing them for years.
- Rhinoplasty (Nose Jobs): Dr. Bell is an expert in both nose surgery types (Internal and external), and TPS is renowned for its rhinoplasty results.
We wish you and your family all the best during these difficult times and we hope to see you soon! Please, feel free to contact us today if you have any questions. Your safety and your health will always be our top priorities, and we promise to never stop looking for new ways to serve you better.