Most of us have something we want to change. An off-kilter nose, less than peachy bottom, or love handles difficult to, well, love. With a reported spike over the last couple of years in procedures, from lip augmentation to Brazilian Butt Lifts, it’s more important than ever to be clued-up on who best to perform your procedure.

The terms cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery are often confused with both engaged to improve or enhance specific body or facial features. However, the differences between them are vast and misperceptions common.

Whether you’re looking to reduce your breasts or nib those drapey eyelids in the bud, here are the differences between the two you need to know.

A Plastic Surgeon specialises in two types of surgery. The first treats parts of the body, restoring function and appearance due to birth defects, illness, or accident. The second is aesthetic or cosmetic plastic surgery that addresses the reconstruction or repair of damage due to injuries, skin cancer, diseases, and other physical issues. Procedures can include breast reconstruction and mastectomies, hand and burn repairs, scar revision surgery, lower limb reconstruction, and lip repairs.

Some plastic surgeons, like Dr Rohan Page, also specialise in cosmetic surgery, which focuses on enhancing certain features, not typically dysfunctional, including the neck, face, chest, and abdomen. Using various medical and surgical techniques, procedures include liposuction, facelifts, breast augmentation, tummy tucks, neck and brow lift, lip augmentation, facial implants, and wrinkle reduction.

Plastic surgery can be done as either an elective or emergency surgery. The title ‘specialist plastic surgeon’ is only used by a medial practitioner with completed plastic surgery training and accreditation with the Australian Medical Council.  

Notice an astounding number of advertisements for cosmetic surgeons lately? This is because it is legal for anyone in Australia with a medical degree to perform a cosmetic procedure.  It could be your family dentist, dermatologist, or the local GP.  If their training includes a one-year cosmetic surgery fellowship, or course focussing on a specialised procedure, they are allowed to call themselves a cosmetic surgeon.

A plastic surgeon on the other hand, requires a specialist degree with a minimum of 12 years medical and surgical education. This includes an additional 5 years of specialist postgraduate training.

It makes sense then, that given all surgery comes with the risk of complications, finding the right plastic surgeon is a must for lowering risk and the most flawless of results. The first step is to carefully investigate your options to ensure you choose your practitioner with care. Ensure they are a member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, certified by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, and recognised by the Medical Board of Australia.

Remember, cosmetic surgery is always an elective procedure as the area treated is only being done for aesthetic reasons. All procedures carry some risk, making it imperative that your practitioner is the most skilled, highly qualified, and accredited there is.


09 July 2021

Written by Elizabeth Clarke