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What is a plastic surgeon?
For any cosmetic procedure, it is essential to check that your surgeon is a specialist plastic surgeon and member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons.
In Australia, ‘specialist plastic surgeons’:
Have trained in specialist plastic surgery for a minimum of 5 years and have at least 12 years’ medical and surgical education and experience;
Are Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons – look for ‘FRACS Plast’ qualification after their name;
Have undergone extensive training to perform invasive surgical procedures covering all aspects of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, frequently undertaking fellowship training overseas with experienced plastic surgeons; and
Are members of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, recognised by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons as the only legitimate professional body representing the field of cosmetic surgery in Australia.
According to the Medical Board of Australia, under current Australian law, practitioners do not need to be a fully-qualified plastic surgeon to perform cosmetic surgery.
“Even a GP who has done no training can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon,” says Board Chair, Dr Joanna Flynn.
A news story by the Daily Mail Australia highlights this issue, serving as a harsh warning to anyone considering cosmetic surgery.
“Unaccredited medical practitioners without specialist surgical accreditation from the Australian Medical Association can legally perform cosmetic surgery in Australia,” the report states. Read the full report here.
The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons has also raised concerns about the use of general anaesthetic in office-based operating environments.
“In general, if you’re getting any anaesthetic, you want an anaesthetist to take care of you while the surgeon is doing the surgery,” Dr Flynn said.
The current anomalies in Australia’s legal framework means there is a significant difference in the level of accreditation and training across the spectrum of doctors calling themselves ‘cosmetic surgeons’.