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Cosmetic surgeons aren't created equal

June 19, 2022

When it comes to surgery – plastic or cosmetic – it’s no time for risky business. Putting your faith in someone you haven’t researched thoroughly, whose qualifications you are unsure of or have meet face-to-face before undergoing the knife, can result in dire consequences. Too often, we hear story after story of surgeries gone wrong and patients suffering – sometimes long-term – because their surgeon lacked the necessary training, qualifications and experience.

Unfortunately, ‘cosmetic surgeon’ claims aren't always valid – which is why so many patientsaren’t receiving the expertise and care they deserve.

“The term ‘Plastic Surgeon’ is protected – you need the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons qualification in plastic surgery – but the term 'Cosmetic Surgeon' is not owned by RACS, therefore is no control over it,” explains Adam Bialostocki, Bay Plastic Surgery’s Cosmetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon.

“You can literally be a GP and hang a sign up that says 'Cosmetic Surgeon'. How or why? Because a basic medical degree (MBChB) contains “Bachelor of Medicine" and "Bachelor of surgery”, so despite not being a specialist surgeon, a GP can argue he/she has a surgery qualification. For the public, this is very confusing!”

 Here in New Zealand, surgeons like Adam, are leading the way in plastic and cosmetic surgery. Why? Becausethe Royal Australasian College of Surgeons is the only institute to include cosmetic surgery training in its plastic surgery qualification – and many RAC plastic surgeons will do additional post-fellowship training too.  

 “Some RAC plastic surgeons will go to a centre somewhere in the world where they perform 100’s of cleft palate repairs so they can be 'the cleft palate’ guy or (like me) go off to Paris to sit in with a famous plastic surgeon to pick their brains and learn tips,” explains Adam. “I could have undertaken cosmetic surgery without having any extra exposure to those guys, but I wanted to hone my techniques so I would be ‘the breast guy’, ‘the tummy tuck guy’.”

 Location – and a potential holiday fix – shouldn’t guide your cosmetic surgery decision making. The training and quantifed expertise  of the surgeon should be the top priority.

 “Remember, cosmetic surgeons with non-plastic surgery qualifications MUST undertake some training in cosmetic surgery because they have had NONE,” cautions Adam. “Plastic surgeons do not need to, it is part of their core training.”

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