Myth Busting Cosmetic Surgery #1

Considering cosmetic surgery is a big decision. Choosing a surgeon with a commitment to excellence is essential but in an industry with so much choice and is increasingly complex and confusing for patients, how do you know that your surgeon has this kind of commitment?

Myth 1: One of the most common areas of uncertainty is whether a plastic surgeon and cosmetic surgeon are the same thing.

The simple answer is no.

There is certainty about what a Specialist Plastic Surgeon is. A Specialist Plastic Surgeon undertakes the same training as other Surgical Specialists, six years or so at university and then a further 8 to 12 years of supervised surgical training to train focused specifically as a Plastic Surgeon. Plastic surgery training includes both reconstructive and cosmetic procedures.

A Specialist Plastic Surgeon is registered with the Australian Health Professionals Regulatory Authority (AHPRA) as a Specialist and the Specialty Field is Plastic Surgery.

A Specialist Plastic Surgeon is a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS). The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons is the only professional body recognised by the Australian Government and the Australian Medical Council to train surgeons (apart from the similar Colleges of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Ophthalmology).

Your surgeon’s qualifications can be independently verified.

The Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons was established 40 years ago and its members are aesthetic plastic surgeons dedicated to excellence in patient safety, excellence in surgical outcomes and excellence in ongoing care. ASAPS members are Specialist Plastic Surgeons

There is no separate specialty called “cosmetic surgery” recognised by AHPRA. Cosmetic surgery is considered an integral part of the specialty of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

A “cosmetic surgeon” who is not a Specialist Plastic Surgeon may have no formal surgical training or be practising outside the area of their specialist training which may bear no similarity to this field.

Check the credibility and qualifications of your surgeon at these sites.

Dr Mark Magnusson is the current President of the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and a member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons.