From the LAT:

“Among couples in their 30s and 40s, the women frequently seek a ‘mom’s body tuneup’ (a post-childbirth breast lift, tummy tuck and lower-body liposuction),” said Barry E. DiBernardo, a plastic surgeon in Montclair, N.J.

“And the husbands, who suddenly wonder how they’re going to stand next to their wives on the beach, get lipo of the chest, neck, belly and love handles, plus a hair transplant.”

Couples in their 50s each order “the blue plate special,” as Mayer of Beverly Hills calls it (an eyelid-, brow- and face-lift).

Although partners can bring different motivations to the surgical suite, men and women alike feel the need to stay competitive in an increasingly youth-oriented workforce, plastic surgeons say.

Some, however, have moved beyond the workplace and are now facing the prospect of a comfortable and active retirement, with lots of travel — and a desire to look as good as they feel.

Regardless of the motivations, mental health experts say, cosmetic procedures have the potential to backfire.

Surgery can change appearance so dramatically — whether done individually or as a couple — that it throws off the dynamic of a romantic relationship. “We intuitively think that if one partner loses weight or undergoes plastic surgery, that person will feel better about him- or herself, and as a result the partner will feel better about the relationship,” said Sarwer, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “But, in fact, things like appearance and weight actually play a much more central role in the dynamic of a relationship, which means that some partners may feel very threatened and fear that their current partner will leave them for someone else.”

Couples must talk beforehand, experts say, about what each partner is personally looking to get from these procedures — and whether the expectations are realistic. “If the woman wants a face-lift because her husband is fooling around, and he wants a face-lift because his business is failing, well, they’re not going to be happy afterward because their motivations are all wrong,” said Beverly Hills surgeon Fleming. “God bless me, I hope I’d pick up on that before the surgery — because it’s not going to work.”

Adds Sarwer: “There is pretty conclusive evidence that cosmetic surgery does lead to an improvement in body image”. But there is not much evidence that surgery improves self-esteem and quality of life, both of which derive from so much more than just the way we look.