The difference between Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon and a Cosmetic Surgeon?

Cosmetic Cowboys are a problem in Australia and around the world.
Any doctor can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon under current legislation in Australia.  The Australian College of Cosmetic Surgery is a self-appointed body that confers qualifications without adequate supervised training or formal examination.  They are not recognised as a specialty organisation under current government legislation.

Many surgeons call themselves Plastic Surgeons but are not necessarily recognised by the Royal Australian College of Surgeons as a specialist in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and therefore cannot belong to the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons.

As an example Ear Nose & Throat Surgeons utilise the term Facial Plastic Surgeons and may well perform cosmetic surgery of the face.  However, they have limited expertise in any other areas of the body such as the breast or abdomen.  Some specialist general surgeons also perform plastic surgical procedures on the breast and abdomen for which they may not have had adequate training.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons typically undertake 6 extra post graduate years of supervised training prior to receiving their specialist fellowship qualifications.  Before exiting training they undertake arduous exit exams after which they can call themselves a specialist surgeon.  They will then often undertake a further 2 years of fellowship training either interstate or overseas.

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