Cosmetic Surgery FAQs

  • 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 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.

    Find out more about Specialist Plastic Surgeons.

  • How do I choose a good surgeon?

    Currently in Australia, it is legal for any doctor with a basic medical degree to perform surgery. Specialist Plastic Surgeons, on the other hand, have extensive surgical education and training including a minimum of 12 years medical and surgical education, with at least 5 years of specialist postgraduate training.  

    In both Australia and New Zealand, the benchmark qualification for a trained Specialist Plastic Surgeon to perform both invasive cosmetic and reconstructive surgery is FRACS accreditation. FRACS means "Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons". This is the only qualification recognised by the Australian Medical Council (AMC) and New Zealand Medical Council (NZMC) respectively.

     All surgical procedures carry risk, but you can reduce the chance of risk and complication by consulting a Specialist Plastic Surgeon who is trained, qualified and accredited to perform cosmetic surgery. Find out more about Specialist Plastic Surgeons.
     

  • Can you recommend a surgeon? I want the best!

    We do not recommend any one Specialist Plastic Surgeon. All Specialist Plastic Surgeons in Australia and New Zealand are members of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the New Zealand Association of Plastic Surgeons (NZAPS) respectively. Visit the ASPS or NZAPS websites to find a surgeon near you.

    Find a Specialist Plastic Surgeon in Australia

    Find a Specialist Plastic Surgeon in New Zealand

    Specialist Plastic Surgeons have a minimum of 12 years medical and surgical education, with at least 5 years of specialist postgraduate training.

    As this is an important decision, we recommend that you do your research. Talk to your family and friends, and consult your GP.
     

  • Can you recommend a surgeon that specialises in my procedure?

    All Specialist Plastic Surgeons in Australia and New Zealand are members of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the New Zealand Association of Plastic Surgeons (NZAPS) respectively. Visit the ASPS or NZAPS websites to find a surgeon near you.

    Find a Specialist Plastic Surgeon in Australia

    Find a Specialist Plastic Surgeon in New Zealand

  • How much will my procedure cost?

    Cost is always a consideration in elective surgery. Prices can vary widely between Specialist Plastic 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

    Your surgeon should welcome any questions you may have regarding fees.

  • Is there a difference between cosmetic and reconstructive Surgery?

    The medical specialty of Plastic Surgery encompasses both cosmetic (aesthetic) and reconstructive surgery. A trainee Specialist Plastic Surgeon completes an average of 3,000 procedures over the course of his/her training of which almost two-thirds have a cosmetic application. In fact, Specialist Plastic 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.

  • I hear the same procedure is cheaper overseas, isn’t that a good way to save money?

    Patients often say that cost is the main reason for choosing to travel overseas for cosmetic surgery. However, if there are complications with your surgery and revisions are needed, that initial cost can increase significantly. It is therefore important to assess all the risks involved before making an informed decision.

    Do your homework and make sure the person performing the procedure is properly qualified and accredited. It is also important to make sure that the surgery will take place in an accredited facility that is to the standards set by the Australian Day Surgery Council.

    Some of the questions you should ask before making a decision are:

    • Is my surgeon a member of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS)? This means they have some form of internationally recognised qualification
    • Have I got the right information and had enough time to give informed consent?
    • Has there been at least a week between appointments so that I have had adequate time to consider surgery and make an informed decision?
    • Are the medical standards of care and quality control requirements at least as good as those in Australia and New Zealand?
    • Have I been assured that the devices and products used in overseas hospitals meet Australian and New Zealand standards? For example, breast implants used in Australia must meet strict standards of safety and effectiveness, a process regulated by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and Medsafe (New Zealand). Other countries may not have similar regulations
    • Have I got a plan for what I will do in the case of post-operative problems?
    • Did I actually see the surgeon, or was the initial ‘free’ visit with a nurse or administration person?
    • Did I get full, written financial details, including all out of pocket expenses for not only the surgeon, but also the anaesthetist, assistant and hospital theatre or facility costs?
    • Were the risks and complications explained to me?
    • What will happen if things go wrong? Will by surgeon accept liability?
    • Where will I be financially if things go wrong, what other costs do I need to consider?
    • Have I been told about post-operative care and what to do if complications arise after the surgery?

    Post-operative care is vital to your recovery from surgery and should not be combined with a holiday. Sitting by the pool, drinking cocktails and snorkelling does not qualify as post-operative care. A qualified and accredited surgeon should offer you a high level of post-operative care. For more information on what to do after surgery, visit the procedures section of this website.

  • Are all surgeons in other countries inferior to Australian and New Zealand Specialist Plastic Surgeons?

    No, many surgeons operating in other countries are highly skilled, so not everyone who travels to another country for a procedure will experience complications.  It is extremely important that you do your homework. Investigate the surgeon’s qualification and accreditation before making a decision. You should also make sure that the surgery will take place in an accredited facility, that the post-operative care period is taken seriously and that you have a back-up plan in case things go wrong.

  • Can cosmetic surgery be carried out on children?

    There are many situations where surgery for children is beneficial and clinically indicated for physical and psychological health reasons.  A blanket ban on all cosmetic surgery for all children would not be in the best interests of some children. 

    In parts of Australia, restrictions have been put in place when it comes to cosmetic surgery and children. This includes signed parental consent, and a minimum cooling off period between consultations.

    For any Specialist Plastic Surgeon, the considerations include the best interests of the child, whether the parental consent is rational and informed, whether the child is sufficiently mature, the health of the child and the timing of the procedure – and whether it would be better to wait until adulthood.
     

  • I’m getting married and I’m considering cosmetic surgery before my wedding day, what do I need to know?

    It is not advisable to undergo any major procedures prior to the big event. Any cosmetic surgery you are considering for your wedding should be  done many months before the actual date to ensure complete recovery. Complications may arise from time to time, and you need to prepare for the possibility and give yourself sufficient time to recover.

Find a surgeon

Visit the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) or New Zealand Association of Plastic Surgeons (NZAPS) website to find a Specialist Plastic Surgeon near you.