What is the difference between a Plastic Surgeon and Cosmetic Surgeon or Doctor?

Difference between a Plastic Surgeon and Cosmetic Surgeon?


Difference between a Plastic Surgeon and Cosmetic Surgeon

The difference lies in minimum qualifications and minimum standards

Only a plastic surgeon will call themselves a plastic surgeon.

All Plastic Surgeons are Cosmetic Surgeons BUT not all Cosmetic Surgeons are Plastic Surgeons.

Cosmetic surgery is a subspecialty of Plastic Surgery, it is part of Plastic Surgery and evolved from Plastic Surgery after the great wars.

In North America, the UK and Australia Plastic Surgery is the only formal qualification for Cosmetic Surgery.

In Australia in particular the only formal recognition of cosmetic surgery in through Plastic surgery.

All Plastic surgeons have a minimum of 9 years of specialty training and are awarded a Fellowship by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS) in Plastic Surgery FRACS (Plast). This is the only formal and recognised qualification in Surgery, Plastic Surgery and therefore Cosmetic Surgery by the Australian Medical Council (AMC). The AMC recognises cosmetic surgery as part of plastic surgery and not a different specialty.

Where does the confusion lie?

The confusion is that there is a college of Cosmetic Surgeons and Cosmetic Physicians that are comprised by other doctors with varying amounts of various training. They claim because a Plastic Surgeon is trained in Cosmetic Surgery, Craniofacial surgery, Hand surgery, Head & neck Surgery, Breast Surgery and Skin Surgery that they are two broadly trained for cosmetic surgery. My answer to this is clear, Plastic Surgery is about principles and techniques and when a Plastic Surgeon can reconstruct a face or breast and undertake advanced skills like microsurgery, performing cosmetic surgery is part of this skill set. Also if something was to go wrong with cosmetic surgery a plastic surgeon is more than capable of rectifying the problem with cosmetic reconstructive principles. Only a plastic surgeon is trained this way and the proof lies in the many salvage and recovery operations plastic surgeons perform. Also most non-plastic surgeons performing cosmetic surgery wanted to do plastic surgery at some stage.

There is also a number of doctors perfoming non surgical injections and then push the envelope to undertake liposuction and even breast augmentation.

The confusion is because of the extensive noise made by non-plastic surgeons as they do out number plastic surgeons.

Plastic Surgeons who specialise in Cosmetic Surgery

Because plastic surgery does cover a lot of areas some plastic surgeons perform just hand surgery while others specialise on cosmetic plastic surgeons. These plastic surgeons call themselves cosmetic plastic surgeons, plastic and cosmetic surgeons or simply plastic surgeons. A plastic surgeon will always call themselves one, as this term has a great deal of prestige.

I myself call myself a Plastic Surgeon who specialises in Cosmetic surgery. I spent over 18 months in cosmetic plastic surgery fellowships in New York and Paris and specialise in cosmetic plastic surgery in Sydney, NSW and now Adelaide.

You must do your research as a patient and ask the right questions which I will help you ask in this blog. What you get with a Plastic Surgeon is a minimal amount of training and expertise, everytihng else is a chance only.

What to ask your doctor or surgeon?

Does you a surgeon have a FRACS?

Is your surgeon qualified by the Royal Australian College of Surgeons, if so they will have FRACS by there name. Note all surgeons have a FRACS. A cardiac or orthopaedic surgeon should not be doing your facelift or breast augmentation. Now a general surgeon or ENT surgeon may perform breast surgery and Rhinoplasty/Septoplasty surgery, respectiveley. If your surgeon does not have a FRACS then they are NOT a surgeon and don’t have the minimal qualifications to perform surgery.

Does your cosmetic surgeon have a FRACS (Plast)?

If your surgeon performs cosmetic plastic surgery then they have to be a Plastic Surgeon. Ask if they have a FRACS (Plast), if they do great. If they don’t then there qualification is simply not recognised by any reputable formal body.

Does your surgeon have admitting rights in a major public hospital?

All FRACS surgeons have worked as Consultant Plastic Surgeons at some stage in there career. Surgeons who perform breast surgery or Rhinoplasty also have FRACS that have admitting rights in a public hospital. If your surgeon or doctor does not have admitting rights in a public hospital or cannot obtain them has not got the necessary minimum qualifications.

Does your surgeon intent to undertake the procedure in an accredited facilty?

Is the place where the proposed surgery registered as a day surgery or real hospital.

Will there is an anaesthetist present?

Who is making you feel no pain? Will there be an anaesthetist administering anaesthetic and pain releif or is the doctor proposing to do this.

What can be done under Local Anaesthetic Alone in a Medical Clinic?

Upper eyelid skin only blepharoplasty, skin excisions and minor liposuction can be performed under LA in the office. Some lower eyelid kin only and mini face lifts may also be done under LA. A plastic surgeon will assess the patient and always use a safe dose of LA if undertaking anything in the office. There is never a need to push the boundaries as all Plastic Surgeons can operate in a day surgery hospital or fully licensed private hospital.

What cant be done in the office?

Major liposuction, facelifts, breast augmentation and tummy tucks need to be done in accredited day surgery’s or private hospitals. All Plastic surgeons undertake such procedures in these facilities, because they can and beleive it is the safest thing to do.

Do Plastic Surgeons cost more?

Yes they do because of there training and expertise, but the extra cost is largely because you are paying for the cost of the surgical bed, nursing care and of course another doctor to administer anaesthetic. You pay for what you get. If is is too cheap it is probably unsafe.

What about Dr Jack Zoumaras

Dr Jack Zoumaras has a FRACS (Plast) and has undertaken further training in cosmetic plastic surgery in New York and Paris. He undertakes only minor procedures in the office and the majority of Plastic Surgery and Cosmetic procedures in major private hospitals. “I call myself a Plastic Surgeon an occasionally a Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon or Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon, because the name Plastic Surgeon has a lot of prestige and denotes a minimum standard of training” “Most doctors in the cosmetic medicine industry at one stage or the other wanted to be Plastic Surgeons” “It takes a lot of extra training, patience and skill to be a Plastic Surgeon”.


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Artiste Plastic Surgery is an Award Winning Specialist Plastic Surgery practice led by internationally trained Dr. Jack Zoumaras, Plastic Surgeon and Face Expert

Artiste offers the latest Cosmetic Surgical Procedures of the Face, Breast and Body, inspired from leading centres around the world.


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