Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeons - What's the Difference?

Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeons - What's the Difference?
Debunking the myth that all surgeons are created equal

Yes, there is a difference; not all cosmetic surgeons are Plastic surgeons or even surgeons at all for that matter. Believe it or not, there are medical practitioners in Australia including GP's, dermatologists and general surgeons who are calling themselves cosmetic surgeons, and some, even Plastic surgeons. Not only is this dishonest, it's potentially life threatening to the patient. "The number of doctors who are performing surgical procedures that should only be done by properly trained Plastic surgeons is astounding. It's so important for patients to check the credentials of their surgeon before going ahead with any type of cosmetic procedure," says Sydney based Plastic surgeon, Dr Mark Kohout.

So what is the difference between a cosmetic surgeon and a Plastic surgeon?
In order to be a trained Plastic surgeon, you need to have completed not only your medical degree, but an additional 8-10 years in post graduate surgical training. Two to five of these years are spent in proper surgical training and a further four years in specialty Plastic and cosmetic surgery training. The level of Plastic surgery training in Australia is world class. The training in Plastic surgery culminates in a qualification called the Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS).

In contrast, all you need to do to call yourself a cosmetic surgeon, is to have a basic medical degree. There are absolutely no legal requirement for doctors to train in surgery and call themselves a' surgeon', and there are many untrained doctors performing breast operations, liposuction and even facelifts, and ultimately fooling the unsuspecting patient.

In 1999, the NSW Cosmetic Surgery Report, Australia's only official inquiry into the cosmetic surgery industry, questioned the definition of the term 'surgeon' and established the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) as the benchmark standard for surgical certification.

The report stated: Medical practitioners performing invasive cosmetic surgical procedures should have adequate surgical training, being that required for Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS), or equivalent.

Under these requirements, Plastic surgeon Dr. Mark Kohout comes highly qualified and sought after. Dr. Kohout graduated from medicine at Sydney University in 1985. During this time he earned two prestigious fellowships. The first was a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1990 and then a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1990.

Dr. Kohout spent a year conducting microsurgical research which earned him a Master of Surgery Degree from Melbourne University. Dr. Kohout continued for another four years training in Plastic surgery in Australia, becoming the Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRCS) in 1996. He spent a further year of training in Maxillofacial and Plastic Surgery at the prestigious Harvard Medical School in Boston, United States. Dr. Kohout is also a member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Dr. Kohout warns potential patients of the need to research the credentials of your surgeon, their specialities and all risks and rehabilitation associated with the type of procedure you're after. Always check your surgeon has FRACS and ASPS at the end of their title, and be wary of Doctors that tell you otherwise.

Dr. Kohout practices privately in Leichhardt and in the Central West town of Orange and has appeared regularly as an industry expert in the media in print, radio and television.For more information about Dr. Mark Kohout, please call 1300 551 151 or visit