With 12 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren, 83-year-old Marie Kolstad is used to welcoming bouncy new arrivals into her life.
So it seemed only natural for her to speak freely with the reporter who called to ask about her recent decision to acquire a pair of silicone breast implants.
Five days, thousands of column inches, and at least two TV appearances later, the energetic senior citizen finds herself at the centre of a snowballing public debate. To some, she is a poster girl for the excesses of modern vanity; to others, living proof that you’re never too old to make the most out of life.
Either way, Kolstad seems to have few regrets about her sudden notoriety. Speaking from her home in Orange County, Southern California, she said she “didn’t think it was a big deal” to spend US$8000 ($9500) on the three-hour operation.
A property manager, whose 32A bosom relaxed into a size 36C during middle age, Kolstad has been widowed for 10 years. However, she insisted that she did not go under the knife because it might improve her chances of finding a new romantic partner.
Instead, she claimed that she took the plunge because she wanted her children to feel proud of her appearance.
At her age, she said, “your breasts go in one direction and your brain goes in another”.
She added: “Physically, I’m in good health, and I just feel like, why not take advantage of it?”
Kolstad’s procedure, which took place last month, was reported last week.
The 83-year-old patient’s “boob-job” highlights a growing trend: while most of their peers are acquiring new hips, knees and dentures, an increasing number of affluent US pensioners are splashing out on surgical procedures to improve their appearance.
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery says there were more than 80,000 cosmetic surgeries carried out on patients aged over 65 last year. Most involved facelifts and eyelid improvements.
But the total includes more than 3000 breast lifts, and 2500 breast augmentations.