News & Features

Hearts Afire – Amid Nips ‘n’ Tucks

Hearts afire Cupid may fire his arrows in all directions and at the most inopportune times possible. But can you image those feathered darts of love zinging around a plastic surgery operating room?

While much of February is dedicated to couples and thoughts of love, the world of plastic surgery is no stranger to togetherness and the more gentle emotions.

We know this because several plastic and cosmetic surgery organizations in the U.S. surveyed their surgeon members for notable trends and found one of the newest wrinkles is couples who go under the plastic surgeon’s knife together. For instance, the American academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) says 36 percent of their members saw a couple who underwent surgery together.

Says Paul Nassif, M.D. a facial plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills: “I see many out-of-town couples coming here for plastic surgery procedures year round. Many travel to Beverly Hills from Arizona and Nevada and make a vacation of it by having surgery within several days of each other and then enjoying the sites Southern California has to offer.”

Some couples travel around the world to undergo rejuvenation surgery while enjoying romance and an exotic vacation.

For instance, in England, a couple who asked be identified as only Kelly and Paul, owners of a small business, eventually married. They started thinking about romantic getaways for a honeymoon and looked for an exotic holiday where they could soak up the sun -- and each other -- on a languid South Pacific or South Asian beach. But why waste time, they figured? If they were going to lay about recovering, why not use that time to heal from the plastic and cosmetic procedures they’ve always dreamed about? Yet another motivation: the cost of the whole trip plus the plastic surgery equaled just the cost of the surgery alone in England.

“It was the start of our new lives together and we wanted to start it off by doing something totally and completely for us,” says 26-year-old Kelly. “

So 27-year-old Paul and new bride Kelly arranged a trip to Malaysia where they could find both wonderful beaches and more reasonable plastic surgery. They stayed at the Rasa Sayang Resort in Penang.

Hearts afire While the couple saved thousands of dollars on the total cost of their trip, hotel and surgery, most English and U.S. doctors caution people against cosmetic surgery vacations because travelers usually have no recourse to follow-up care if a procedure should go awry. However, the Australia-based tour organizers say they screened surgeons for the very best that South Pacific and Asian nations have to offer. Moreover, the booking agent guarantees cosmetic surgery vacationers a return trip to, and accommodations in, the nation where surgery was done in case any complications arise, post-operatively. Moreover, the couple liked the location of their procedures: a widely respected international hospital.

Results? Kelly had a breast augmentation, liposuction and six porcelain veneers installed on her teeth. Paul had liposuction of his stomach and love handles and teeth whitening.

“We can now start the rest of our lives together as much happier and confident people, who in turn, makes our relationship stronger,” Kelly says.

When 60-year-old Howard Rich Shafer, a tax attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio, looked in his mirror, he saw some drooping under his eyes and wrinkling on his neck that was causing people to remark how tired he looked.

“But I didn’t feel tired and did not like my outside looking the opposite of how I felt,” Howard told News. He had those features corrected and saw his confidence and self-esteem zoom. Soon, thereafter, Howard also had a cheek lift and upper and lower eyelids. He felt his self-esteem take another notch up.

Inspired by her husband’s refreshed, younger look, 58-year-old Donna, Howard’s high school girlfriend and wife of 37 years, started thinking about the things she did not like on her own face. Within a week, Donna went to see Jon Mendelsohn, M.D. medical director of the Advanced Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Center in Cincinnati and had upper and lower eyelids (blepharoplasty.)

“Even though I always described Donna as beautiful, she’s now even more beautiful,” Howard says.

Adds Dr. Mendelsohn: “Besides looking better for each other, many couples are each having a cosmetic procedure because they must compete in the work force and don’t want to be seen as over the hill, because of a haggard appearance.”

Lloyd Weinstein, 50, the owner of a Southern California deli, has always been athletic, carrying only a trim 140 pounds on his five-foot-eight frame. But it seemed like he could never lose his love handles.

So he had them liposuctioned away along with some fat on his neck and jowls. Noriko, his wife and business partner, saw how refreshed Lloyd looked and soon mad an appointment with the same practitioner to have a lower eyelid lift because she always thought that feature make her look “too tired.”

Adds their plastic surgeon, Dr. Thom Barnes, M.D. in Newport Beach, California: “Lloyd and Noriko are a couple who represent by the far the largest group of people currently seeking cosmetic enhancement. Specifically, that group is made of regular people, who are concerned about one or two areas of their body or face and completely unlike what you see on ‘The Swan’ or on ‘Extreme Makeover’.”

Plastic surgeons say that nobody has ever asked to remove a scar caused by Cupid. Apparently, his arrows don’t leave wounds – on the outside, anyhow.

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