Columbus-based health system OhioHealth has announced that it will be now be offering permanent face mask surgery in an effort to help curb the spread of COVID-19. The procedure will use extra skin from the patient’s stomach or buttocks to fashion a permanent face mask over the nose and mouth. 

OhioHealth cosmetic surgeon Dr. Ishmael Gardune said he thought of the idea after watching so many of his friends and family forget their masks and him failing to make any money off of it. 

“It’s happened to everyone at some point during the pandemic: you’re about to go out in public, only to discover you’ve forgotten your mask. At that point, you have to decide between doing the right thing to protect others, or continuing with your plans,” Gardune explained. “And that got me thinking: What if there was another way? What if we could rip some skin off of your ass, sew it onto your face, and permanently cover that disease spreading nose and mouth of yours? You’d never forget your mask again.”

Dr. Gardune says that the first 250 patients who received the surgery experienced some minor complications, including loss of identity, suffocation, and complete disfigurement. However, the surgery has since been cleared and deemed ready for the general public.  

OhioHealth CEO Tonya Harding said the surgery presents a win-win for her organization and the community.

“Our new permanent face mask surgery gives people an opportunity to permanently commit to a temporary situation, theoretically saving countless lives in the process,” Harding said. “It also provides us with an opportunity to generate revenue during the pandemic. Selling people overpriced healthcare solutions that they don’t really need has become more difficult these past 9 months and it’s important to our organization that we get back to business as usual.”

OhioHealth officials say the operation can double as cosmetic surgery by providing an opportunity to change the look of your lips, nose, chin, or jawline. 

“We have a number of different looks you can choose from,” Dr. Gardune explained. “We can make your permanent face mask look like a new and improved mouth and nose; we can make you look like your favorite animal; we can model after your existing face; we can fashion your permanent mask after a manhole or the endzone at Ohio Stadium. The sky is the limit.”

Mask advocate Governor Mike DeWine said he is excited to see an Ohio company delivering such valuable innovations amidst the pandemic. 

“I’ve said it since day one: The holes in people’s faces are the biggest threat to our health during this pandemic,” DeWine said. “Now OhioHealth has come along and offered a way to permanently cover them up while creating jobs and stimulating the economy in the process. They really stepped up and I am proud they are fellow Ohioans.” 

Residents had mixed feelings about the new surgery. 

“I know that wearing a mask is important, but I don’t really forget mine enough to justify permanently fucking up my whole face and losing my identify,” said Jardon Sweatin of Grandview. 

Short North resident Samantha Rusto said she hopes OhioHealth comes up with ways to cover other holes on her body. 

“The permanent face mask is a good start, but what about my asshole?” Rusto asked. “It gets eaten a lot and I feel like COVID could probably spread that way, too. No one is talking about covering your asshole but maybe they should be. I’ve heard I should cover my dog’s. I have tried putting tape over it but that’s too easy to tear off. A permanent layer of skin would be perfect. Maybe a flap or something? I don’t know. They can do whatever they want to me as long as I can tell people I’m getting surgery again. I got a lot of likes last time.”

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