UNDER KNIFE: Plastic surgeon Dr David Sharp has been nipping and tucking Ipswich patients for two years.
UNDER KNIFE: Plastic surgeon Dr David Sharp has been nipping and tucking Ipswich patients for two years. Rob Williams

Plastic surgeon reveals Ipswich's most in demand nips, tucks

LIFE in plastic might be fantastic for Barbie, but for Ipswich's leading plastic surgeon, there is a much more human focus at the heart of breast augmentations and tummy tucks.

Plastic surgeon Dr David Sharp has been changing the lives of Ipswich patients for two years - his work fundamental in helping cancer patients recover from treatment, those who have lost excessive weight take the final step in their health journey and trauma victims return to normality.

He said plastic surgery included everything from breast enlargements and reductions, tummy tucks and face lifts to re-construction following cancer treatment and skin cancer treatment.

Skin cancer surgeries are the most common in Ipswich, Dr Sharp said, but for those with a more cosmetic aim, breast jobs - both bigger and smaller - and tummy tucks were also in high demand.

"Without doubt the most popular surgery is skin cancer surgery in relation to servicing a need but from a cosmetic point of view the most popular are breast augmentation and reduction surgery," he said.

"One in eight women in their lifetime will be affected by breast cancer so having options available after the cancer treatment from a re-construction point of view is a core to providing good health care.

"From a cosmetic point of view breast augmentation, breast reduction, abdominoplasty and facelift are all operations I do quite frequently in Ipswich.

"There is a perception that plastic surgeons will only make breasts larger but there are many women out there who suffer from the size of their breasts in terms of chronic back pain with wearing a bra and being comfortable in clothing so actually reducing the size of the breast is a very common procedure.

"The other one that goes hand in hand with that is abdominoplasty or tummy tuck surgery. With an increasingly obese society more and more people are looking at weight loss items through weight loss surgery.

"Subsequent to that weight loss, if a person who loses 30 or 40 kilos, they have lot of issues with excess skin folds around their tummy and other areas so being able to remove that is quite good for improving their lifestyle."

Dr Sharp said the plastic surgery profession did not gain its name from using plastic and creating a Barbie-effect in patients but from the Greek word plastikos which means to shape or mould something.

It takes 10 years of intensive surgical training with five years dedicated specifically to plastic surgery before a doctor can become a plastic surgeon but Dr Sharp has spent 15 years practising the art before he set up his Ipswich clinic.

"When I was starting off early as a doctor, plastic surgery interested me because of the variety that if offered and the different kinds of patients that we meet," he said.

"We saw there was a need for additional plastic surgery services in Ipswich. In this area work is busy from a skin cancer point of view because of the Queensland weather and sun exposure.

"I get a lot of satisfaction just from seeing patients three, six, or 12 months down the track who have done the hard yards and recovered from the surgery."

Plastic Surgeon Dr David Sharp at his Ipswich medical practice.
Plastic Surgeon Dr David Sharp at his Ipswich medical practice. David Nielsen

The right time for new breast

FOR more than two decades, Jenny Dixon had only one breast.

Ms Dixon was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1991 and had a mastectomy on one of her breasts and only opting for re-constructive surgery with Ipswich plastic surgeon Dr David Sharp last year.

She said there were limited choices for breast cancer patients before Dr Sharp opened his practice and, not wanting to have silicone in her body, waited more than 20 years to have her breast re-constructed.

Ms Dixon said she opted for a new breast reconstruction technique that took tissue from her abdomen and used it to mold a new breast.

"At that time, I chose not to go ahead and having anything done," she said.

"I was only 36 at the time. I had four sons, aged nine, eight, four and three. It was a bit or a harrowing time because we had the children."

She said the surgery allowed her to buy new clothes and feel confident shopping.

"It was very emotional. I get a bit choked up thinking about it now. It's good emotions," Ms Dixon said.

"Prior to tha,t if I went shopping looking for a dress or top, I had to tell people I had a mastectomy and I felt like why should I have to explain myself.

"I haven't told many people because it has been a very private journey.

"People have asked me why I waited so long but now the time was right. That was the time I wanted to do it."

Ms Dixon said it had been a good decision after years of waiting.

"It was a painful procedure but coming out the other side has been worth it," Ms Dixon said.

"After 26 years the other way, I'm still getting used to it. It is something that I lived with so many years and now it's all changed."