Dr John Newton, Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) Board Member and qualified Plastic Surgeon working in the Newcastle and Hunter regions says there are lots of questions which a person contemplating cosmetic or plastic surgery needs to consider. Like so many questions, they fall into the categories of who, what, when, where and why.
Firstly, who should perform the procedure?
Currently, in Australia, it is legal for a medical practitioner with only a basic medical degree (i.e. MBBS – Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) to perform surgery.
ASAPS members however are Specialist Plastic Surgeons with extensive post graduate specialist training in all aspects of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. Our members are all Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS) and have undergone extensive training to perform invasive surgical procedures.
Plastic Surgery training through the Royal Australian College of Surgeons (RACS) is a long and highly detailed training course equivalent in its intensity to the training to become a Cardiac or Brain Surgeon. It includes highly detailed training in both Cosmetic (Aesthetic) Surgery and Reconstructive Surgery.
It is noteworthy that the RACS is a long standing (Est. 1927) and fully accredited College by the Australian Medical Council (AMC). There are other surgical groups to which cosmetic practitioners belong, however they are not accredited by the AMC.
Use our member directory to find out if your doctor or surgeon has an AMC accredited specialist plastic surgery qualification, or call us on 1300 027 227.
What should I have done?
The decision to have a cosmetic procedure performed is a highly personal one. However, by seeking the advice and expertise of an ASAPS member you can be guided on this journey by having a surgeon who has the very best clinical knowledge, research and techniques to ensure the best outcome possible post-surgery.
When should I have it done?
Depending on the type of procedure you are having done will depend on the down time. Again, you can be expertly guided in this decision making by an ASAPS member who will ensure you are fully informed of what the procedure will entail pre, during and post-surgery so that you can make an informed decision about how much recovery time you will need to ensure the best possible outcome.
Where should I have it done?
You are well within your rights to seek as much information as possible on the surgeon’s skill level, training and where your surgery will be performed. Most ASAPS members perform their surgeries in a clinical or hospital setting, meaning they are fully covered by medical indemnities should anything go wrong.
Whilst minimally invasive procedures may be acceptable in smaller clinics, more significant procedures such as breast augmentation deserve an operative environment able to cater to the rare but significant intraoperative emergencies that can occur. This preparedness includes the equipment and staff being adequate to handle such emergencies, and an appropriately qualified Anaesthetist being on hand to appropriately sedate you during this invasive procedure.
Australian medicine, you will be happy to know, is amongst the best medicine provided in the world. To compare for example anaesthesia in Australia to anaesthesia in the United States, you will be disturbed to know that you are several times more likely to die under anaesthesia in the United States than here in Australia. This is because we set a high standard both in qualification of our doctors and in regulation of both our doctors and the facilities in which they work.
Overseas there are no doubt a spectrum of clinics and hospitals providing an environment for surgery which ranges from optimally safe through to tragically dangerous. Unfortunately, I have been involved in helping a number of such patients.
Lastly, why am I having it done?
Again, this is highly personal and the reasons for choosing to go down this path can be numerous. From the desire to improve a certain feature or aspect of your body, to repairing the damage from a trauma or illness or to fix a congenital issue. No one should judge your decision if it has been made on sound information and all the facts have been properly considered.