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What is a Plastic Surgeon?

A Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon is a highly trained Medical Specialist who performs Reconstructive and Aesthetic (Cosmetic) Plastic Surgery.

In Australia there is only one route by which a Doctor can qualify as a Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon, and this is through the Specialist Training program administered by The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS). This College is the only body accredited to award the title of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon. The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons with the Australian Medical Council also have a process through which overseas trained Specialists can apply to be recognised as Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeons.  

Selection onto the training program in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is highly competitive, with only a small number of Doctors chosen each year. The program is extremely rigorous, with candidates being intensively trained and frequently examined in all aspects of Plastic Surgery, both Reconstructive and Cosmetic. At the culmination of this program, trainee Plastic Surgeons sit a series of gruelling exams, before they can be awarded their ‘Fellowship’, or qualification as a Surgeon, and the right to use the suffix FRACS (Plast) after their name.

Only qualified Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeons are then entitled to join the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the national representative body of the specialty. They are also legally recognised as Specialists by Medicare Australia and the Health Insurance Funds and only operate in fully accredited Hospitals and Day Surgery Facilities, which allows their patients to claim rebates for eligible procedures. 

Once qualified, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeons must show evidence of participation in ongoing Medical Education and Training in order to retain their Specialist status.

To be certain that you are consulting a fully qualified Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon for your Plastic or Cosmetic Surgery, look for the qualification ‘FRACS (Plast)’ and membership of ASPS.

More information on the training and qualifications required of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons can be found by following these links:

Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS): www.plasticsurgery.org.au
Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS): www.surgeons.org
Australian Medical Council (AMC) www.amc.org.au

If your question is not answered here, please do not hesitate to ask Dr O’Mahony via our contact us page.

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