Many patients do not know that in Australia, any doctor may perform surgery without being trained in surgery and not holding specialist recognition as a surgeon. This means someone not trained in Plastic Surgery could be performing your surgery. You need to ask specifically if your “surgeon” is a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons (“F.R.A.C.S”). This is the only legally recognised accreditation for Australian surgeons. Other groups, such as the “Australian College of Cosmetic Surgeons” try to appear as though they are a valid specialist group. They are not, and do not have recognition as a specialist group by the Australian Medical Council. There is, in fact, no such thing as a “cosmetic surgeon”. Most doctors using this title are not specialist surgeons and have not undergone specialist surgical training.
Check your “surgeon’s” qualifications; Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons can be verified at: http://www.surgeons.org
Next, you should confirm your surgeon has undertaken formal training in Plastic Surgery, which is a 5 year training program and is highly selective to ensure only the best candidates are accepted into this training program. This training program is hands-on training, under direct supervision of senior surgeons, and despite what other groups erroneously claim, includes training in cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, as well as major reconstructive surgery covering the entire body.
Most plastic surgeons in Australia are members of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. Membership of this organisation can be confirmed on their website: www.plasticsurgery.org.au. If your surgeon is not a member, you should ask why not.
Finally, you should confirm your plastic surgeon is experienced in your particular procedure. They should be able to show you a wide range of photos of their own work, with patients similar to you.
By choosing an Australian qualified Plastic Surgeon, you can be assured that the doctor has graduated from an accredited medical school and has completed at least five years of additional training in plastic surgery in a program accredited by the Australian Medical Council and the Royal Australian College of Surgeons.