Key Differences Between Plastic Surgeons Vs. Cosmetic Surgeons

Key Differences Between Plastic Surgeons Vs. Cosmetic Surgeons

Procedures such as rhinoplasties, implants and other invasive cosmetic surgeries should only be conducted by qualified and experienced plastic surgeons. These surgeons have undergone comprehensive medical and specialised training, enabling them to help patients achieve their desired appearance safely and effectively.

Unlike cosmetic surgeons, facial plastic surgeons have the necessary knowledge of anatomy and expertise to be best placed to perform plastic surgery procedures. With key differences between the two qualifications, making an informed decision will help patients avoid potential issues such as infections, scarring and other permanent physical damage that could negatively impact their overall well-being. 

However, misleading advertising has resulted in an alarming number of surgeries with unfavourable outcomes, calling for reforms by the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), in addition to reviewing licensing standards for cosmetic surgery facilities. These reforms are developed to spread awareness and protect patients from false and confusing claims made by underqualified surgeons.

Facial plastic surgeons vs. cosmetic surgeons 

While their expertise may overlap, facial plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgeons are subject to different training and licensing standards in Australia. Facial plastic surgeons undergo thorough, intensive and highly specialised training from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS).

On the other hand, the term ‘cosmetic surgeon’ can be used or applied to various medical practitioners from different backgrounds, including general practice and other non-surgical specialties. While these general practitioners may have licences or specific course certifications related to cosmetic procedures, they have not received the intensive training that plastic surgeons and facial plastic surgeons undergo. This specialist training qualifies plastic surgeons and facial plastic surgeons to perform invasive cosmetic procedures safely and precisely.

After completing medical school and obtaining a medical degree, all aspiring plastic surgeons undertake several years of general surgical training. Following this, they undergo specialised plastic surgery training with RACS and gain extensive experience and knowledge in various plastic and reconstructive procedures. Once facial plastic surgeons have trained and completed their specialisation with RACS for a total of 12 years, they qualify as a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS). FRACS is a post-nominal title awarded to qualified surgeons who have completed a rigorous training and examination process through the RACS. 

A facial plastic surgeon with a FRACS qualification can skillfully perform specialised surgeries and provide comprehensive patient care, including:

  • Diagnosis, treatment and management of surgical patients throughout the process, including consultations, surgery and post-operative care

Key differences between facial plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgeons 

  • Training

Unlike cosmetic surgeons, facial plastic surgeons possess comprehensive knowledge and skills that they gained through their years of specialty training , enabling them to address a wide range of complex conditions. They are adept at performing complex surgical operations and utilising various surgical techniques for reconstructive surgeries. In some cases, facial plastic surgeons are even called upon to rectify unsatisfactory outcomes resulting from procedures performed by underqualified or unspecialised doctors.

  • Qualifications

Facial plastic surgeons undergo training through the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS). Only those who have earned their Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS) are eligible for membership in the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) or membership of the Australian Association of Facial Plastic Surgeons (AAFPS). As their training is a protected claim, selecting a FRACS-awarded facial plastic surgeon with a minimum of nine years of speciality training is advisable. 

  • Scope 

Cosmetic surgeons may perform a broader range of operations on the body beyond the face, while facial plastic surgeons concentrate exclusively on specialised procedures relating to the face, head and neck. 

Dr Shahidi — a FRACS-awarded rhinoplasty, otoplasty and ENT surgeon 

Consulting with a board-certified facial plastic surgeon will provide the highest expertise and safety. Having completed decades of training, Dr Shahidi has received FRACS, the highest qualification awarded to Australian Surgeons. Dr Shahidi is a facial plastic trained surgeon specialising in structured rhinoplasty surgery and ear, nose and throat operations. 

Currently affiliated with North Shore Specialist Day Surgery and Lakeview Private Hospital, Dr Shahidi and his medical team have performed both surgical and non-surgical procedures in Sydney on various local, interstate and overseas patients.

If you’d like to schedule a consultation with Dr Shahidi to determine whether you are a candidate for a surgical or non-surgical procedure, contact us today.