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Couples going under the knife together

/ Source: Forbes

Atlantans Terrie and Tony Ramsey have been married for 17 years. They run an underground construction business and together raise a blended family (seven children from previous marriages). The Ramseys are avid walkers, and Terrie maintains a healthy glow with bimonthly facials and occasional micro-dermabrasion.

Like many baby boomers, they desire to look and feel young.

That’s why, last November, after seeing a Discovery Health Channel program featuring plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Maloney, the couple decided to make an effort to look as good as they felt. Terrie, 47, underwent a face-lift, stomach fat transfer to cheeks and lips, a full-face laser treatment, upper and lower eyelid work and rhinoplasty. About a week and a half later, Tony, 64, also had a face-lift, along with upper and lower eyelid work, stomach fat transfer to cheeks and lips, and a chemical peel. The combined costs reached upward of $45,000.

But the results? Priceless. “Tony looks fabulous," says Terrie. "One would never know he had a face-lift. I’d say he looks 20 years younger — just as when we met.”

A team approach
The Ramseys are not alone in their quest for the fountain of youth. Maloney, who performed their procedures, says he’s noticed a surge of couples electing to collectively take the plastic surgery plunge.

He says reality television-based makeovers and greater acceptance of under-the-knife upkeep have lessened the stigma associated with getting liposuction on those love handles or Botoxing away that worry wrinkle. Men, in particular, are more open to having a little work done. Many express interest while sitting in on their wife’s consultation, realizing that maybe a nip here and a tuck there might not be so bad.

“The couples that go into surgery together want to share everything in life,” says Maloney. “Nowadays, the exciting thing is, everything is out on the table.”

Surgeons across the country are seeing increase in the number of couples taking a team approach to plastic surgery. Out of the 193 doctors surveyed by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in February, 47 percent reported an increase in the number of coupled clients last year.

Dr. Richard D’Amico, president-elect of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and chief of the department of plastic surgery at New Jersey’s Englewood Hospital, says that surgery is the natural progression in many couple’s self-improvement efforts.

“Husbands and wives are exercising together, they diet together and they want to maintain their appearance together. It’s becoming more and more logical that they’re getting plastic surgery,” he says. “They may [typically] come in together for some Botox and filler, but now they’re also having face-lifts.”

Ladies first
In most cases, as with the Ramseys, the woman tends to have her surgery done first, followed by her husband. Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Brent Moelleken says that because women tend to be more familiar with cosmetic procedures and might have gone under the knife before, she's able to coach her husband through his own recovery.

“Men are quite in the dark about plastic surgery,” he says. “One [husband] told me once that he only thought about plastic surgery when he heard something slapping in his soup. It was his neck.”

Ritzy recuperation
For those fortunate enough to be able to afford such luxuries, there are high-end facilities where couples can recuperate together, in the same room, with full-on constant care and pampering.

For example, Shanteque, at Beverly Hills’s La Meridien Hotel, is a recovery facility that provides everything from medical attention to gourmet dining, all with a personal attendant who will cater to every whim. One night in a king suite with an outdoor garden patio rings in at $850, which does not include medical supplies and telephone access.

However, as most surgeries cost upward of $15,000 per person, sometimes the best caregiver can be your partner. After all, they know what you’re going through.

“I was glad I was there to do all I could do to take care of Terrie," says Tony Ramsey. "It worked out great. She looks fantastic.”