Looking in the mirror isn’t always easy. Imagine if that mirror is your twin. “Our faces have been changing in the same ways,” says Jill. “But Jane does everything better than I do, including getting older.”
After years of mulling it over, the 62-year-old identical twins underwent lower face and neck lifts at Bryn Mawr Hospital this past September. Because each procedure takes four hours, Dr. Jason Bloom usually does only one per day. But he agreed to the sisters’ request to have the surgeries on the same day. “It didn’t matter to me who went first,” Bloom says with a laugh. “I let the sisters figure it out.”
Five weeks after their surgeries, the women have agreed to meet at Jane’s Berwyn home to talk about their experiences. They’ve healed well—neither has obvious bruises, and the bandages are gone. They look great (though neither wants her real name used).
But they also looked great before the surgeries. Jane and Jill have classically beautiful faces and slim physiques. Pilates, yoga, running and healthy eating are part of their lives. The sisters are in excellent health, especially for women over 60. That made the decision to have face and neck lifts more difficult. These were elective surgeries. Were they taking unnecessary risks?
Erring on the side of caution, they first went the non-surgical route and got injections of Restylane and Voluma to add contour. But over time, Jill became increasingly unhappy with her appearance. “See all the wrinkles? That’s old-lady stuff,” says Jill, pointing to her neck, jowls and mouth in photos taken before the surgery. “It would’ve gotten worse as we got older.”
The filler-injecting dermatologist told Jill that, to remove the sagging skin, she’d need to see a cosmetic surgeon. She wanted to go for a consultation, but Jane wasn’t having it. “At age 58, I said we should do it,” Jill remembers. “At 59 and 60, I said we should do it. My sister said, ‘Next year, next year.’ But if I waited any longer, I felt the change would be so dramatic that people would know I’d had surgery. I didn’t want that.”
Jill scheduled a consultation with Bloom, telling Jane she was going with or without her. “I couldn’t have her looking better than I do,” Jane says. “I had to go.”
The two told Bloom they wanted to look like better versions of themselves, but not artificial—and they didn’t have to be identical. “You can’t do my sister better than me,” one said. “You have to do us equally.”
From his surgical perspective, Bloom saw that, in fact, the sisters’ faces were no longer completely identical. “They hadn’t aged in exactly the same ways,” he says. “In general, they were identical. But external things, like sun damage and other factors, made their faces different.”
Jane and Jill’s husbands didn’t see the need for surgery. Jill’s spouse became supportive, but Jane’s didn’t want her to change anything or risk complications. “It’s great that he loved how I looked,” Jane says. “But this was something I really wanted to do.”
Jane and Jill had to wait four months for Bloom’s surgical calendar to allow back-to-back surgeries. Anxiety about the procedures led to many sleepless nights for Jane. A week before the surgeries, Jane’s black cloud disappeared and migrated to Jill. “The more I thought about what was going to happen, the more nervous I got,” she says.
The surgeries went perfectly. The sisters spent the night at Bryn Mawr Hospital and went home the next day. Their heads were completely bandaged. In photos, they look like adorable mummies. Thanks to medication, they weren’t in pain, but sleeping and eating were tough. Jill bruised more than her sister. She was black and blue all over, whereas Jane looked only slightly discolored. Bloom says there was no medical reason for the difference in their bruising. “It’s just that Jane always does everything better,” Jill says with a roll of her eyes.
Recovery wasn’t easy. For four weeks, the sisters sequestered themselves—first at Jane’s home, then Jill’s. “Hiding out was the hardest part,” Jill says. “You really have to schedule down time for yourself.”
After five weeks, the women had some tenderness and light bruising, but otherwise looked fabulous. They’re thrilled with the results. “We take such good care of ourselves with diet and exercise, but that wasn’t being reflected in the mirror,” Jane says. “Now, our outsides match our insides.”