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Cosmetic Vs. Plastic Surgery: What’s the Difference?

Christopher Allen - Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A common question asked by many of our patients is: just what exactly is the difference between plastic and cosmetic surgery? If you’ve ever wondered this, you’re not alone.

Cosmetic surgery is one of the five or six subspecialties of plastic surgery; the others include reconstructive procedures.

Perth plastic surgeons can choose to perform cosmetic procedures so it’s not unusual to find these titles used interchangeably, but be warned there’s a big difference! Years of training, exams and experience are required to become a Plastic Surgeon.

It’s important to seek out an experienced, accredited plastic surgeon like Dr Chris Allen, who is familiar with all aspects of both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.

Procedures only Plastic Surgeons can perform

Patients can be confused by the different names used in cosmetic and reconstructive practice; in Australia there are very few regulations when it comes to what surgeons call themselves. Just because a Perth doctor promotes their skills as a "cosmetic surgeon", it does not make them an accredited plastic surgeon.

Plastic surgery can encompass the cosmetic surgeries most people are familiar with:

·         Facial Contouring and Rejuvenation

·         Breast Augmentation

·         Breast Reduction

·         Breast Reconstruction

·         Otoplasty (Correction of Prominent Ears, e.g. ears which are too big, stick out or are uneven in shape)

·         Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Reduction)

·         Abdominoplasty

All work and procedures are performed in full accredited private hospital facilities.

Why You Should Ask Questions

Many unsuspecting clients do not realise they are consulting with someone who is not a trained plastic surgeon. Trusting a plastic surgeon means quite literally putting your body in someone else's hands and one needs to look at the credentials and experience of a surgeon who may be operating on you.

Qualifications Count

Specialist Plastic Surgeons spend years at University completing a medical degree and then undertake at least a further 5 years of specialist postgraduate training and pass extensive exams to be recognised among professional bodies. At the end of their studies, a Specialist Plastic Surgeon will have completed a minimum of 12 years of medical and surgical training, including a Fellowship at the Royal Australian College of Surgery (FRACS). It is important to note that the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) is the only College in Australia that is accredited by the Commonwealth Government to deliver specialist surgical training.

While GPs can legally perform simple cosmetic surgeries, they may have limited experience and training. Currently, in Australia, it is legal for any doctor with a basic medical degree to perform surgery.

Perth plastic surgeons must meet Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) standards. Dr Chris Allen has spent years training in Australia and internationally and now has associations with a number of professional affiliations; on top of the required accreditations (MBBS, FRACS). He was also Vice President of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), Emeritus Consultant at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, and teaches medical students at the University of Western Australia and Notre Dame University. Get in touch today to find out more.

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