For Patients

The Patient Information section provides patients with useful information about plastic and reconstructive surgery. Here you can find:

Important information about your Specialist Plastic Surgeon

When choosing a surgeon, it is important that you assure yourself of their qualifications and accreditation.

All surgical procedures carry risk, but you can reduce the chance of risk and complication by consulting a specialist plastic and reconstructive surgeon who is trained, qualified and accredited to perform invasive cosmetic and reconstructive surgery in hospitals, and accredited day surgeries.

The benchmark qualification for a trained plastic and reconstructive surgeon in Australia and New Zealand is a Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS) in plastic and reconstructive surgery. This is the key qualification recognised by the national Medical Board of Australia and the Medical Council of New Zealand.

Specialist plastic and reconstructive surgeons must have extensive surgical education and training including a minimum of 12 years medical and surgical education, with at least five years of specialist postgraduate training.

The five year postgraduate Plastic Surgery Education and Training Program for surgical registrars is provided by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) and administered by the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons Incand the New Zealand Association of Plastic Surgeons.

The RACS is the only college in Australia accredited by the Commonwealth Government to deliver specialist surgical training. Upon completion of their surgical education and training, qualified specialist plastic surgeons become Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS).

Frequently Asked Questions

What does MBBS mean and is it the same as FRACS?

MBBS stands for Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and is awarded to medical practitioners upon graduation from university. A doctor with an MBBS holds a basic medical degree which is different from FRACS.

FRACS means Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. The distinction is only awarded to specialist surgeons who have completed a minimum of 12 years medical and surgical education, with at least five years of specialist postgraduate training. A specialist plastic surgeon with the letters FRACS appearing after his or her name is accredited to perform invasive cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.

Is there a difference between cosmetic and reconstructive surgery?

The medical specialty of plastic surgery encompasses both cosmetic (aesthetic) and reconstructive surgery. Specialist plastic and reconstructive surgeons draw from both their reconstructive and cosmetic skills and training in order to deliver the optimal result for each patient, no matter the circumstance.

Is cosmetic surgery safe?

Cosmetic surgery, like all surgery, has risk and should be considered seriously. As with any type of surgery, complications and adverse reactions can occur. You can reduce the chance of risk and complication by consulting a specialist plastic and reconstructive surgeon who is properly qualified and accredited to perform invasive cosmetic surgery.

It is also important to check that your surgery is performed in an accredited facility. Accredited facilities for surgery include public/private hospitals and day surgeries that are accredited by the Australian Day Surgery Council.

In New Zealand, HealthCERT is responsible for ensuring hospitals, rest homes, residential disability care facilities and fertility providers provide safe and reasonable levels of service for patients, as required under the Health and Disability Service (Safety) Act 2001.

How much will my procedure cost? 

Cost is always a consideration in elective surgery. Prices can vary widely between specialist plastic and reconstructive surgeons for the same procedure.

Some factors that may influence the cost include the surgeon’s experience, the type of procedure used and the geographic location of the office.

Costs associated with the procedure may include:

  • Surgeon’s fee
  • Hospital or surgical facility costs
  • Anaesthesia fees
  • Prescriptions for medication
  • Post-surgery garments
  • Medical tests

When making a claim through Medicare or your health fund, you may find gaps between the surgeon’s fees and the amount you can receive back as a rebate. You are responsible for paying the gap. Contact Medicare and your private health fund to find out more about what is covered.

Your surgeon will request your informed financial consent before elective surgery. The surgeon or the practice staff should welcome any questions you may have regarding fees.

Australian Breast Device Registry (ABDR)

In partnership with Monash University’s Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine (Melbourne), we have led the establishment of the Australian Breast Device Registry which tracks the incidence, quality and health outcomes of all breast device surgery performed across Australia.

It is an ‘opt out” registry and the first of its type internationally to have the collaboration of breast surgeons, cosmetic surgeons and plastic and reconstructive surgeons in contributing data. The records have already proved crucial to improving patient health outcomes.

If you are a patient who would like to become involved in the Australian Breast Device Registry, you may speak to your surgeon and enquire as to whether or not they are contributing to the registry. Participation is voluntary and there is no cost to you. No individual patient will be identified in any report arising from the registry.

You may notify your surgeon or registry staff at any time that you do not want to be involved in the registry, including prior to surgery, and choose to have your data withdrawn.

For more information, visit www.abdr.org.au

Burns Registry of Australia and New Zealand (BRANZ)

Since 2013, we have provided the Burns Registry of Australia and New Zealand (BRANZ) with an annual grant to support its operation and improve outcomes for patients.

The registry captures important data about quality of care, and health outcomes for adult and paediatric burn patients across Australian and New Zealand. The registry plays a critical role in improving our understanding, treatment and prevention of burns injury.

The project is a collaboration between the Australian and New Zealand Burn Association and the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at Monash University.

For more information visit www.branz.org

Australian Hand Differences Register (AHDR)

The Foundation is also proud to partner with Murdoch Children’s Research Institute to create the Australian Hand Differences Register (AHDR) – a world first – which aims to establish the prevalence of various types of congenital hand / arm differences in children in Australia and provide research infrastructure.  

The AHDR will help focus the management teams of these children so that presenting data and treatment outcomes from multiple centres can be collated and analysed, thus providing meaningful cohort data on many uncommon conditions.

For more information visit: www.mcri.edu.au/ahdr

This patient information is intended to provide you with general information only and is not a substitute for advice from your Specialist Plastic Surgeon. It is important that you speak to your surgeon before deciding to undergo surgery. If you are not sure about the benefits, risks and limitations of treatment, or anything else relating to your procedure, ask your surgeon to explain.