4th March 2012: Important note when choosing your surgeon
All surgeons have differing levels of training, experience and expertise.
Plastic surgeons practice cosmetic, plastic and reconstructive surgery. To qualify as plastic surgeons a doctor must be trained through the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), which involves a minimum of 10 years of extensive training and exams after graduation from medical school. Most are also members of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), a group whose members are ALL trained through RACS. In Australia, just about anyone with a basic medical degree is allowed to perform cosmetic surgery. In fact, currently there is no legislation in place which stops any doctor, even your local GP, without having undergone formal surgical training or having any recognised surgical qualification, calling themselves a ‘surgeon’. These doctors usually call themselves “cosmetic surgeons” and often pretend to be plastic surgeons.
Your only safeguard is to look for the letters FRACS under a doctor’s name and check that they are affiliated with the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), as only fully qualified plastic surgeons have these titles and memberships. The Royal Australian College of Surgeons (RACS) is the royal body overseeing training and qualification of specialist surgeons in Australia, including Plastic Surgeons, General Surgeons, Cardiothoracic Surgeons, Urologists, ENT Surgeons, and Orthopaedic Surgeons. You can check if your surgeon is a FRACS by going to www.surgeons.org/find-a-surgeon/