Something in Common: The Mother/Daughter Plastic Surgery Trend

Mothers and daughters often bond over shopping sprees, Sunday brunch outings and spa days. Now plastic surgery can be added to that list.

Karen Stevens visits her plastic surgeon regularly for Botox and facial fillers. She’s also had liposuction. The 45 year old, however, didn’t become attracted to cosmetic surgery because she wanted to look like a certain celebrity or supermodel. Instead, the Los Angeles resident was inspired by watching her mother get “nips and tucks when she turned 60.”

“You would think she would look like a Joan Rivers wannabe, but she has always been careful about the doctors she uses and just how far she will allow them to go,” Stevens says of her mother, who was featured on the first season of the E! reality show “Dr. 90210” and has had a skin peel, face lift, breast reduction, liposuction and her upper and lower eyes done.

“Seeing my mother looking so young and beautiful has inspired me to nip, tuck, fill and paralyze too. She is 72 now and doesn't look it at all.” To help her maintain a youthful appearance, Stevens says her mother is giving her “a Botox and filler special” for her birthday. “To me, that’s the perfect gift.”

Stevens’ story isn’t an uncommon one. In 2008, the American Academy of Facial, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery reported a 34 percent increase in the number of people getting surgery with a partner — be it friends, couples, sisters or mothers and daughters.

Steven Pearlman, MD, dual board certified in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, says, “I have had a number of mother-and-daughter teams come in for Botox and/or facial fillers. The usual scenario is that daughters who have seen how good their mothers look are coming in for similar, lesser treatments.”

Maria Williams* hipped her 30-year-old daughter to Botox, and they usually get treatments together every six months. Although her son-in-law wouldn’t approve, the New York City native also encourages her daughter to have her breasts enlarged.

“I think it’s a positive thing. You exercise to make your body look better. You eat right. So why not do injectables and Botox or whatever tweaking you need to do to make you feel good,” says the 57-year-old health professional. “My daughter is reasonable, and anything she would want to have done would be normal, like a breast job or a nose job.”

Alternatively, some daughters influence their mothers to have work done. “For example, there may be a child who is in her twenties considering a breast augmentation, and she brings her closest confidante, her mother, with her for the consultation,” explains board-certified plastic surgeon, Elie Levine, MD, director of plastic surgery at the Plastic Surgery & Dermatology of NYC, PLLC.

“The mom is sometimes hesitant at first, thinking, 'This is kind of silly, why would somebody go through this?' Then they see the results their child has and the satisfaction she has from the procedure, and all of the sudden, she loses some of her inhibitions and concerns for undergoing aesthetic work. [They don’t] necessarily have the same procedure as their child, but it definitely gets them thinking about it.”

But is the mother-daughter cosmetic surgery trend ultimately positive or negative?

Dr. Levine doesn't believe there are any negative aspects of the trend. “Like any patient seeking cosmetic surgery, if they are an ideal candidate for the procedure — which means they not only have an aesthetic concern, but they also have the right motivations and expectations for the procedure, and they are doing it after a long, thought-out process — there’s generally going to be a very high satisfaction rate,” he adds.

“Going through procedures with a support network like a mom or a daughter can only help one get through a procedure and increases the likelihood of high satisfaction.”

Williams — who had her first plastic surgery procedure performed at age 45 — also views the trend as positive and says plastic surgery has become a bonding experience for her and her daughter. “We have something in common,” she says. “I have friends who also do this with their daughters, in their thirties and forties. It’s something to talk about, [almost] like fashion.”

*Her name has been changed


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