Hey Dr. Shenker! Why on Earth Can’t I Have My Surgery…

… or BOTOX/laser/filler/BBL/profractional/HALO/acne treatments/peel/microneedling/Coolsculpting treatment yet?

The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic, Dr. Robert ShenkerOver the last few weeks, and especially over the last few days, the team and I at the Cosmetic Surgery Clinic have heard from an overwhelming number of our beloved patients.

Before I get into the details of our plans to reopen, let me first express my undying appreciation for the patients of The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic. Every single one of you has been kind, understanding, insightful, thoughtful, patient, and generous.

If you would have told me when we shut down on March the 17th that we would reach May 24th without having a single patient cancel their surgery or non-surgical procedure, I would never have believed it. But it’s true. Every single one of you who has given us your confidence, and put faith in us to take great care of you continues to do so. I cannot thank you enough for giving us such kindness, understanding and love. I know all of you are going through the same difficult times that we are, and the fact that you continue to be excited about working with us at The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic means more to us than we will ever be able to express

Among the many questions we have recently been asked are:

When can I have my surgery?

When will you be open? 

What are you doing to keep the staff and the patients safe? 

Do you have enough PPE for the Clinic now? 

Are you all walking around in those dorky face shields?

Are you open for anything at all right now?

Didn’t Premiere Ford recently announce that elective surgeries can go ahead? 

Are you open for in-office pickups?

Are you open for curbside pickup?

Do you have stock of my favourite skin care product? 

Are you still going to have the spring open house?

What’s the holdup?

You get the idea.

So, I thought it would be a good time for another update on the current situation at The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic.

As you read through the blog, if you feel like you may have heard this story somewhere else, it’s because every single plastic surgery clinic in Ontario is limited by the same rules and regulations. We are all fighting the same battle. We are all in the same boat!

At the time of the writing of this blog – just after cocktail hour on Sunday the 24th of May – the entire range of elective cosmetic procedures that we do at the Cosmetic Surgery Clinic continues to be completely shut down across the entire province. No one in Ontario is getting liposuction, breast augmentation, tummy tucks, facelifts, neck-lifts, blepharoplasty, BOTOX, lip filler, laser treatments, chemical peels or any other cosmetic surgery operation or procedure that our patients are asking for, and that we love to do.

Both the enthusiasm and the confusion surrounding the opening and closing of our clinics can be partly attributed to the announcement on May 14th indicating that scheduled surgeries could proceed. Unfortunately, very shortly after that announcement, all of us heard from our regulatory authorities who told us to put a hard stop on any and all non-essential medical procedures.

I spoke with many of my plastic surgery colleagues between the announcement on May 14th and the chaotic days that followed, and let me tell you that many of us had to scramble to re-cancel surgeries that had been previously cancelled and then rebooked after the government announcement. It was not a fun few days for any of us.

Over the last two weeks or so, we have opened up The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic for urgent OHIP minor procedures such as advanced skin cancers, and certain types of trauma cases that continue to pour in through the emergency department at Cambridge Memorial Hospital. Those are procedures that cannot and should not be delayed. We have been given the green light to proceed with those types of procedures.

Aside from that, we have not done a single elective surgical procedure, BOTOX injection, dermal filler, or laser procedure since March 16th. And believe me, it has been heartbreaking for us. We were gearing up for the busiest spring season the Cosmetic Surgery Clinic has ever seen. We had recently moved to a five-day-a-week operating schedule. We were planning an expansion of our non-surgical services and we were very much looking forward to the spring open house that was scheduled for May 21st.

So where are we now?

While we keep one ear and one eye glued to the daily news briefings, the whole team at The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic has been working closely with me to develop our reopening plan.  We are taking our guidance from organizations like the Canadian Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the Ontario Ministry of Health, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, the Ontario Medical Association, as well as the provincial Out of Hospital Premises Inspection Program. These are all important governing bodies that help us do what we do in a safe and effective way. 

Our new strategy addresses a multitude of practices and procedures within the clinic, to make sure we are ready to go once we get permission to do so.

Let me outline just a few of them here.

  • We will be screening you for Covid-19 symptoms both at the time of making your appointment booking, as well as at the time of your arrival at the clinic. We’ll be asking you some questions as well as taking your temperature.
  • We will be scheduling patients in such a way so as to avoid multiple patients in the waiting room at any given time.
  • We will need your cell phone numbers so that we can call you in for your appointment as you sit and wait in your car, or enjoy a walk around the block or through Waterloo Park, which is just across the street from The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic. We’re doing this so that we can maintain physical distancing as much as possible within the building.
  • Within the waiting room, you’ll also see that some of our new, beautiful chairs are cordoned off so that we don’t end up with people sitting too close together.
  • When you go to the desk to chat with Tina, we will have you stand at the far end of the desk while Tina sits at the other side so that you’re offset, and not directly face-to-face with each other.
  • While in the clinic, we’re going to ask you to wear a mask that you bring from home. If you don’t have one, we will make one available for you. Unfortunately,  due to the scarcity and increased expense of masks these days, if we do need to provide you with a mask, we will have to charge you a nominal fee for it.
  • If you have to take your mask off for any part of your consultation or your procedure, the staff will take some additional precautions to make sure that everyone stays safe.
  • Right now, we’ve got enough gowns, surgical masks, procedure masks as well as n95 masks for the foreseeable future. We also have enough hand sanitizer and hand soap to supply a small army.
  • In the operating room, we’ve made arrangements for some additional high-tech air filtration systems to keep the air clean and virus free.
  • And what about those dorky looking full-face shields?  We have plenty of those too!

While we wait for the provincial health authorities to give us the go-ahead for procedures, we are open for retail skincare purchases. Many of our patients have been getting in touch with us to get what they need for the upcoming spring and summer.

If you need any of your favourite skincare products, or if you just want to try something new as the spring and summer approach, all you have to do is give us a call or an email and let us know what you need. We will package it up, take your payment in advance over the phone, and set up a no-touch pick up for you. If you’re not sure what you need, we will be happy to advise. The Beauty Nurse®️ team is ready, willing and able to chat with you.

As for the spring open house event, which was supposed to happen on May 21st, we are looking at alternatives. Right now we don’t have a definite plan but we will certainly have an event that will live up to our usual standards set by previous open house events. I don’t know what form that will take, and I don’t know when it will happen, but I know that Heather and the team will come up with something brilliant.

Every member of The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic staff has read through our new policy and procedure manual. Everyone is on board, and in fact, while it might seem strange at first, we are all embracing these new measures if it means that we can get back to doing what we love to do, which is taking care of wonderful patients like all of you.

I wish I had more information to share. I wish we did not get conflicting reports from various health authorities. I wish there was no such thing as COVID-19. And I wish more than anything that we didn’t have to go any longer than these two and a half months without seeing each other.

I will certainly continue to write about any and all new developments as they occur. Unfortunately, there just is no set timeline for reopening elective, cosmetic services right now. Any date that I provide with regard to when we can reopen would be nothing more than an educated guess.

In the meantime, please stay well, stay safe and stay positive!

Looking forward to seeing you soon,

Dr. Robert Shenker and the whole team at The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic

Meet Our Surgeons

The talented, experienced plastic surgeons at our Kitchener-Waterloo clinic have the advanced training to create exceptional, natural-looking results that meet the individual needs of our patients. The collaborative nature of our practice benefits patients in many ways.

Dr. Robert Shenker Dr. Stephanie Ma
The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic