What is the difference between a plastic and cosmetic surgeon?
Many doctors with different levels of training perform cosmetic surgery procedures in Australia. The only qualification that is required to call oneself a cosmetic surgeon in Australia is to have a medical degree and valid medical registration. There is no specialist training required as a prerequisite to use the title “cosmetic surgeon”. This industry is largely unregulated which is why even a general practitioner is able to perform such procedures.
A plastic surgeon, however, is someone who has been selected for advanced training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery through the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. A plastic surgeon undergoes years of intensive training under close supervision (in all aspects of reconstructive and aesthetic surgery), is required to pass barrier exams and has the qualifications FRACS (Plast). They are highly trained in all aspects of both complex reconstructive surgery (such as microsurgery, reconstruction following various cancers and congenital deformities) as well as cosmetic surgery. The use of the term “plastic surgeon” is restricted to those individuals who have earned this qualification. Many plastic surgeons add the term “cosmetic” to their title to signify they perform both reconstructive and cosmetic procedures.