|How I went
from flabby to fab at 50 with Britain's first
£6,000 bum lift
it's every woman's dream - to regain the pert
bottom of her youth. That was the goal for pop
star Toyah Willcox who, at 50, has become the
first person in Britain to have an injectable
bottom lift - cosmetic surgery that claims to
give definition to the buttocks. Toyah lives with
musician husband Robert Fripp, 62. Here, SADIE
NICHOLAS asks her if the £6,000 procedure was
money well spent - or a bum deal ...
To say that I am
pro-cosmetic surgery is perhaps too strong. Yes,
I had a facelift five years ago and I've been
quite open about my desire to have a tummy tuck -
at my age my skin's losing its elasticity, so I
believe more nips and tucks are inevitable.
the reason I have cosmetic surgery is because I
love my career. Having work done on your face and
body goes hand in hand with showbusiness, because
you have to ensure you look good for your age.
accept that fact and don't resent it, it's just
part of the job. In this business, most people
have had something done, even though many don't
like to admit to it.
Despite being the same weight and size, a ten,
that I was in my 20s, my shape's changed as I've
reached my 50s.
the past two years I've noticed that my bottom
has begun to sag, developing a telltale crease
and losing definition where it meets the tops of
Of course, it can be disguised with clever
support knickers, but it doesn't change the fact
that I'm not happy with the shape. I don't go to
the gym, but I do lots of hill-walking in the
Worcestershire countryside and I'm fit and
But, no matter what, time and gravity still have
an effect on even the slimmest, fittest of women.
So, when I heard a new laser treatment was being
launched in the UK, which claims to tighten and
tone the skin and is described as the surgical
equivalent to doing hours and hours of exercises
in the gym, I began researching it on the
internet in earnest.
I learned that the procedure called VASER
(vibration amplification of sound energy at
resonance) Hi Def is suitable for use on the
stomach, chest, bottom and upper thighs and,
amazingly, takes less than two hours to perform
under local anaesthetic and just a few days to
And it's a considerable advance from the more
traditional nip-and-tuck treatments for a saggy
bottom such as the rather barbaric bottom
implants - where silicone pouches rather like
those used in boob jobs are inserted into your
buttocks - and the old-style liposuction, which
involved inserting a long, thick rod into the
fatty areas and sucking stuff out with quite
On TV I saw
women who were black and blue after liposuction
and couldn't sit down for weeks. So I was
relieved and enthused to read that VASER Hi Def
involves inserting a fine ultrasound probe - a
titanium rod about two to three millimetres thick
- into the fatty areas of the stomach, chest or
buttocks under local anaesthetic.
The ultrasound waves emitted from the probe
liquefy the fat and an equally tiny suction tube
is then inserted and used to suck out as much of
the fat as possible. Any liquefied fat that
doesn't get sucked out will be excreted with
normal bodily waste.
Apparently this process allows a surgeon to
sculpt the specially selected areas, almost
carving fat away from around the key muscle
groups to create a highly defined physical shape.
The tiny probe allows him to be very precise
about exactly where he removes the fat from,
which is how he can create such definition and
why this treatment differs so much from other
methods of liposuction.
Of course, if you believe the blurb, it all
sounds wonderful, but I know that if you're going
to enter into cosmetic surgery then you need to
do your homework, researching the treatment and
the surgeon until you're absolutely certain of
the merits of both.
Hours of internet searching revealed that VASER
Hi Def is already a hit in the U.S. and
manufacturers and practitioners claim it yields
astonishing results. I was convinced enough to
arrange a consultation with Dr Mike Comins at The
Hans Place Practice in Knightsbridge before
He is the only doctor to offer the treatment in
the UK, and only the second in Europe. Here's
what happened next ...
DECEMBER 18, 2008
I arrive at the Hans Place Practice feeling
excited about meeting the man who may be able to
reverse the signs of ageing on my bottom.
Dr Comins inspects my derriere and tells me I
already have amazing muscular strength for
someone who doesn't go to the gym. He also says
that I'm the perfect patient for VASER Hi Def
It should be performed only on those who are fit
and healthy but seeking more definition, and not
on those looking to it as a quick-fix means of
shedding lots of weight or inches, although it is
suitable for those with smaller, stubborn areas
of fat resistant to weight loss.
Dr Comins explains the procedure exactly as I
read about it on the internet - and also says he
would recommend injecting a thick synthetic gel
filler called Macrolane - a similar version has
long been used to fill facial lines - into my
upper buttocks, which he would then manipulate
with his fingers to restore shape and volume.
I have endless questions for Dr Comins, such as
how much the procedure might hurt, what pain
relief I'll be given, whether the gel can change
shape due to sitting too much (he assures me it
won't), and if my bum will end up looking bigger,
or just more shapely. It's already big enough.
He gives reassuring answers to all of my
questions and tells me the whole operation will
take between one and two hours. Although I'll be
able to leave the clinic straight away
afterwards, he warns that I'll be sore for the
first two days.
Pain frightens me, but I remind myself that he's
a man and they have a much lower pain threshold
The procedure will cost around £6,000, but it
will be a small price to pay to get my old bottom
back. I can barely contain my enthusiasm and book
to have the procedure done on January 15, also
booking four days off work, just in case he's
right about the soreness.
JANUARY 14, 2009
With less than 24 hours to go until I return to
have my wondrous bottom surgery, the nerves kick
in. In fact, I'm more anxious than I was before I
had my facelift five years ago.
Why? Well, I've never been in favour of
liposuction - which the VASER treatment is - in
any form as it always looks so brutal when you
see it on TV.
I'm also a little worried about how much pain I
might be in afterwards, even though I'm not
squeamish. And I'm concerned that in opting for
the injections to 'shape' my bottom, it may end
up with too much volume and look bigger than when
I started. A big bum is not what I'm after.
I have a terrible night's sleep, with fears
whirring through my mind. My husband, Robert,
isn't overly keen on the idea of cosmetic surgery
because he already thinks I look good.
But he knows he won't stop me from having it
done, so opts to be fantastically supportive
In a bid to minimise any bruising, I've been
using herbal arnica cream on my bottom and taking
arnica tablets for the past week, as they are
both recommended to reduce bruising.
I did the same before my facelift and had very
little bruising compared to most patients.
I've always been known for being outspoken and
flamboyant. But I have my vulnerable moments,
too, and right now, as Robert and I arrive at the
clinic first thing in the morning, that's how I
I don't take surgery lightly. I'm nervous and I
need Robert with me. The clinic is white, clean
and very unlike a hospital as it's so comfortable
and friendly. A
fter signing the pre-operative paperwork, I strip
to my underwear and Dr Comins marks the areas of
my upper thighs and bottom that he will work on.
He's going to make tiny incisions on my lower
buttocks into which the probe will be inserted
and from where he can work on melting the fat in
my upper thighs and lower bottom.
This will give more definition to the shape by
removing fat from around the muscles.
Then he'll finish by injecting the filler into
the top of my buttocks to make my bottom more
I'm taken into theatre where my bottom and thighs
are sterilised with an iodine solution as I lay
face down on the operating table. The
anaesthetist gives me a sedative to relax me.
Then Dr Comins injects local anaesthetic into the
areas he is going to treat, including a spot in
the centre of my lower back, immediately above my
He advises that the following day I should expect
to see lots of fluid oozing from this entry point
as the anaesthetic makes its way out of my body.
As the sedative takes effect, I drift off to
sleep and the next thing I know it's an hour
later and the procedure is complete.
Apparently, I woke up at various points during
the operation, but I don't remember any of it.
There are two tiny incisions on each buttock
where the VASER wand was inserted. Dr Comins has
put dressings on them and a pad over the spot
where the anaesthetic was injected to absorb any
liquid that seeps out - and lots does for the
next 24 hours.
I'm also fitted with a corset which will compress
the area and help prevent any little lumps
forming as it heals. I have to wear it for two
weeks round the clock and for a further two weeks
either during the day or at night.
As I have a drink in the recovery room, Dr Comins
gives me a five-day course of antibiotics to
guard against infection, plus strong painkillers.
Just an hour after the procedure is completed,
Robert and I bid farewell to the clinic and head
On the basis of this 100-mile, two-and-a-half
hour journey, I would advise anyone having this
procedure not to spend long in a car immediately
I am sitting down, although leaning to one side
to rest more on my hip than my bottom cheek and I
feel every single bump and dip in the road: it's
But as soon as we are back at home, the pain
subsides. In bed at night it's impossible to
sleep on my back as my bottom feels so sore. So,
I adopt the recovery position and refrain from
sitting down - perching instead on my knees or
leaning on my side - over the next five days.
There's a tiny bit of swelling but nothing too
much and I just wear comfortable clothes over the
I'm astonished to wake up and find I'm hardly
sore at all. Neither does my bottom appear
swollen. Robert has been astounding throughout
and changes the dressing on the anaesthetic entry
point on my back, which is wet with leaked
We both inspect the results of my surgery in the
mirror. He says my bottom looks fantastic and
wonders whether he should have the same treatment
on his stomach.
I tell him he doesn't need to as I really don't
think physical appearance has the same importance
for men as it does for women.
For women, I believe body shape and sexuality are
intrinsic to our power, particularly at work.
Looking at my bottom in the mirror, I'm over the
moon. It's like looking at my bum and thighs as
they were 30 years ago.
By melting away fat in all the right places at
the tops and sides of my thighs, he's cleverly
reshaped them so that they run a smooth line to
my hips with no lumps or bumps in between, giving
the illusion of them being elongated, too.
He's very subtly given my bottom some shape,
which has the effect of making it look lifted and
more pert without adding to its size. And my
hips, which used to sit square to my waist, now
look fabulous. I'm thrilled.
Last night I slept on my back for the first time
and today I don't feel any soreness. There isn't
even any hint of bruising.
A friend emails me to say that she's desperate to
book herself in for the same treatment having
heard how pleased I am, but that her husband is
totally against it.
Men can be very funny about cosmetic surgery.
It's now over two weeks since the surgery and
finally I can remove the corset. The little
incisions have completely healed and I'm
ecstatically happy with my new bottom.
I'm still a size ten, but my bottom looks better
both in the buff and under my clothes. It's
leaner and more shapely.
Thankfully it doesn't look bigger, as I had
feared it might, just altogether more pert, as it
was in my youth.
In April, I'll return for a check-up with Dr
Comins. He says the results of the surgery should
last for three to four years, at which point I'll
have a top-up procedure.
I've spoken to him on the phone since my surgery
about having a similar treatment on my stomach
before I go on tour in September, too.
And, yes, I will consider going under the knife
again after that, but for now I'm just happy to
have my old bottom back again.