COVID-19 has changed the way we live our lives, conduct business, and take part in social activities. In order to decrease the spread of Coronavirus, we’ve witnessed the closing of most recreational businesses in our towns including spas and salons, theaters, gyms, sporting venues, and the like. Even businesses deemed essential may have limited operating capabilities. Restaurants are only authorized to offer pick up and delivery, grocery stores are holding special hours for senior shoppers. While medical professionals are considered essential, non-emergent procedures, whether they are cosmetic or medical, are currently on hold to conserve limited resources. Yet, some plastic surgery practices remain open because they perform necessary procedures and supplement hospital staff.
MHW: What makes Samra Plastic Surgery different from other practices in the area that were considered non-essential healthcare operations?
SPS : “Our practice has always provided a unique combination of cosmetic and reconstructive services. We are experts in both fields and under normal conditions it’s not uncommon for us to go from performing a breast augmentation to a carpal tunnel repair to closing a skin cancer wound,” says Dr. Said A Samra, founder of Samra Plastic Surgery. “We’re happy to help those in need during this temporary yet difficult time. We’re physicians first. The type of plastic surgery we’re doing doesn’t matter. What matters is we’re improving our patient’s quality of life, and providing them the best care.”
MHW: COVID-19 came on rather quickly in NJ. How did this affect your elective cosmetic surgery patients?
SPS: “We are still seeing our most recent post-operative patients to make sure they are healing correctly and in a timely manner,” said Dr. Asaad H. Samra. “If we recently operated on a patient, we need to see them to make sure they are progressing, and to remove their drains and any stitches that need to come out. If all those things have been addressed, we are performing HIPPA-compliant virtual visits to continue to assess our post-op patients by ensuring they have reduced pain, swelling, and are noticeably improving. If a prospective patient was scheduled to come in to the office for a cosmetic consult, we are also seeing them by virtual visit so we can give them the information they need to make an informed decision about their personal goals and future cosmetic surgeries.”
MHW: Are your cancer patients being affected with regard to the essential/non-essential NJ business guidelines?
SPS: “We are able to see patients that were diagnosed with skin cancer to decide if the cancer removal is urgent or can be deferred to a time in the near future. We are utilizing video visits whenever possible,” said Munjal P Patel, MD, FACS. “However, there are instances where we still need to see cancer patients. We may be called by a dermatologist who performed Mohs surgery to remove skin cancer. The wound may be so deep, the dermatologist may not be able to close it. In these cases, the physician may refer the patient to us so we can reconstruct the area. This type of reconstruction is urgent.”
MHW: Your office is open for emergencies. What is considered an emergency?
SPS: “An emergency can be many things and many of these can be addressed in the office rather than in the over crowded hospitals. By doing this we alleviate the strain on the emergency rooms, physicians, and medical staff at the local hospitals, said Salem Samra, MD, FACS. “With people spending more time at home, they are looking for things to keep them busy. Many are doing home improvement projects, spending more time with the dog, or going on athletic jaunts. Landscapers and construction companies are still working and accidents happen. We are getting calls for facial, extremity, and hand injuries that require stitches, dog bites, and wound care.”
MHW: There are times when the hospitals call plastic surgeons for assistance. Is this still happening?
SPS: “We are still being called to the hospital for emergencies that require a plastic surgeon,” said Fares Samra, MD. “My partners and I work closely with many of the other surgeons in the hospital system and often need to assist them in handling urgent cases during these challenging times. Furthermore, people are used to going to the ER when they have an accident. Given the concerns of COVID in the hospital, some patients call our office directly instead of going to the ER when they have a traumatic injury we can help with. In either case, we are available and will do whatever necessary to provide our patients with the highest level of care.”
For more information on Samra Plastic Surgery, please call 732-739-2100 or visit SamraPlasticSurgery.com.