*The contents in this blog relates to legislation in New South Wales.

When deciding to undergo cosmetic surgery, men and women in Australia are often unaware of the differences between the qualifications of doctors who use the title cosmetic surgeon, compared with doctors who use the title plastic surgeon.

Unlike plastic surgery, cosmetic surgery is not a recognised specialty in Australia.

The title cosmetic surgeon is unregulated, meaning any doctor can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon without having undergone the rigorous education and training to become properly accredited and qualified in order to perform safe cosmetic surgery.

ABC’s Four Corners recently aired an episode on “Cosmetic Cowboys: The unregulated world of cosmetic surgery.” During that program, it was clear just how dangerous cosmetic surgery can be, and the horror stories that flowed reflected deficiencies in patient communication and consent, surgical technique, surgical facilities and in post-operative care and treatment.

Certain alarming practices have also highlighted inadequacies in the regulation of cosmetic surgery by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), who seem to lack necessary powers to enforce the necessary training, certification and accreditation requirements for cosmetic surgeons because cosmetic surgery is not a protected title under the national law. By comparison, plastic surgery is a recognised field of specialist medical practice approved by the Counsel of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.

The regulation of ‘cosmetic cowboys’  is imperative to ensure that patients undergoing elective cosmetic surgery are not put in harm’s way. Patients deserve the full protection of the law.

Get in touch with us

 If you or anyone you know has suffered harm as a result of cosmetic surgery gone wrong, please contact our medical negligence team on 13 43 63. 

At Turner Freeman, we have specialist medical negligence lawyers who will assess your case and provide personalised advice regarding your legal entitlements. Our medical negligence lawyers are located across NSW including in our offices in Parramatta, Sydney, Wollongong, Newcastle and Toronto.