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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 March 2008, 00:10 GMT
Crafting Natasha a new body
By Jane Elliott
Health reporter, BBC News

Natasha Wood
Natasha loves her new breasts
When Natasha Wood makes up her mind to do something, she does it.

Born with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) - a neuromuscular disease which inhibits signals from the brain to the muscles - Natasha needs a wheelchair and her arms are so weak that she can not lift a pint of milk.

But when the successful TV producer and actress wanted a better body she was determined to go ahead with cosmetic surgery.

Because she has a slightly reduced lung function, she carefully planned each stage with her surgeon to ensure the operation was safe.

New body

Today she has new breasts and a flatter stomach.

"I just wanted to look as good as I could," she said.

With my new and improved look I felt much more confident in my daily life
Natasha Wood

"I am a pretty healthy person. I have this lifelong condition, but I have never known anything else and I live my life to the full.

"I consider myself one of the lucky people. I have been able to travel and do everything I have wanted to do and there is still more to do.

"I have never not done what I wanted to do. I am very fortunate."

Going for surgery

Natasha lost three and a half stones (22.2kg) in weight and toned her body through regular swimming sessions, but felt it still looked out of shape and set her sights on liposuction and a tummy tuck.

" I made a decision to have the surgery and then went for it," said Natasha.

"I was not going to accept anything else."

For two years she and surgeon Graeme Perks, based in her home town in Nottingham, discussed the pros and cons.

"He agreed to do a mini-tummy tuck. He could not do a full tummy tuck, that would have killed me," she said.

Natasha Wood
Natasha has a one-woman show

"There was so little space between the bottom of my rib cage and my hips. Because of the scoliosis I am smaller and all my organs are squashed together."

Following the tummy tuck Natasha was determined to have a breast enhancement.

She said: "I had no boobs. Well, one was a fried egg and one wasn't even in the pan. I wanted a figure.

"My mum has a fabulous double D cup so I had a desire for them, but because of my shape I could only go to a B cup - but it is a full B cup."

Inspired by the results, she has also has regular Botox and lip enhancements.

And says she is delighted with the results.

"Graeme gave me back a positive image of my body. With my new and improved look I felt much more confident in my daily life.

"People sometimes imagine me to be this quiet girl in a wheelchair instead of the bawdy, silly, sassy, crazy chick I really am."

Charity show

She and her plastic surgeon have built up such a relationship over the years that she includes his character in her one- woman autobiographical show, Rolling with Laughter, which was a hit at the Edinburgh Festival.

Mr Perks, a member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) said he had been inspired by dealing with Natasha.

"Natasha's attitude, confidence, determination and incredible outlook on life are an inspiration - she's also a fantastic example of how plastic surgery can have a positive impact on quality of life.

"It makes sense that people from all backgrounds are becoming more familiar with and approving of aesthetic plastic surgery.

"Twenty years ago people thought only movie stars and rich women had such procedures, but now it's no longer defined by class, race or gender - so why would disability play a part?

"The results of cosmetic treatments go far beyond aesthetics, more importantly improving the self-esteem and quality of life of these and all kinds of patients."

BAAPS President Douglas McGeorge said he had not carried out surgery on many disabled patients, but provided they were fit enough for the operation their disability should not prove a barrier.

"There is no reason why somebody with disabilities should not consider aesthetic surgery," he said.

Rolling With Laughter will be performed on Sunday 30 March, at Her Majesty's Theatre, Haymarket, in central London and all funds raised will aid The Jennifer Trust for Spinal Muscular Atrophy - set up in 1985 by the mother of Jennifer Macaulay, who died of SMA when seven months old.



SEE ALSO
Big bucks spent on nips and tucks
15 Feb 08 |  Business

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