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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is the difference between plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery?

    Related Topic
    Are the terms used interchangeably? Is there a difference? What are examples of each type of surgery?
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    Dr Gavin Sandercoe

    Plastic Surgeon (Reconstructive & Cosmetic)

    Enhancing lives through excellence in plastic, reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. “I enjoy the technical challenge of complex reconstruction for trauma and cancer patients. Using knowledge … View Profile

    The confusion over plastic surgery vs cosmetic surgery continues in Australia, mostly due to a lack of resolve from state and national governments to help the patient (or consumer) by enforcing the use of specialist titles.

    Quoting Wikipedia ….
    “Plastic surgery is the medical specialty concerned with the correction or restoration of form and function. Though cosmetic or aesthetic surgery is the best-known kind of plastic surgery, most plastic surgery is not cosmetic: plastic surgery includes many types of reconstructive surgery …” 

    In Australia, all Specialist Plastic Surgeons are trained in both reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. The qulification that you should be seeking is FRACS (Plastic & Reconstructive) or Member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgery. Dr Nguyen has provided a good summary in her answer to “How do I choose the right plastic surgeon”

    There are other doctors that use the title of cosmetic surgeon, as this is not a title that is protected by law. There is no law against a doctor calling themself a cosmetic surgeon from the day they receive their full medicalregistration, a year after finishing university.

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