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FACT: All surgery, cosmetic and reconstructive carries risk

With a substantial rise in the number of people undergoing plastic surgery in the last 10 years, surgery has become ‘normalised’. However, it cannot be underestimated that both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, like any other kind of surgery, carries risk and therefore needs to be seriously considered. A patient can have an adverse reaction to the anaesthetic or be affected by postoperative complications. These problems can occur even when the surgery has been performed with the utmost skill. In addition results cannot be guaranteed. The best way to reduce risk is to consult a fully trained and qualified specialist plastic and reconstructive surgeon

MYTH: Specialist plastic and reconstructive surgeons only perform reconstructive surgery

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

FACT: There is limited regulation or standardisation on the use of titles to describe medical qualifications in the area of plastic surgery

Patients are sometimes confused by various medical titles and what they represent. A fully trained and accredited surgeon in the specialty of plastic surgery is known as a specialist plastic and reconstructive surgeon. Most are Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS) or have equivalent training and accreditation. This means the surgeon has completed five years of postgraduate plastic surgery education and training on top of their basic medical degree. In New Zealand, the Medical Council of New Zealand grants vocational registration to suitably trained plastic and reconstructive surgeons.