What is the difference between plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgeons?

Plastic Surgeons vs Cosmetic Surgeons

Jun 30, 2023 | Blog

Plastic Surgeon vs Cosmetic Surgeon – What’s the Difference and Should I Care? If experience, knowledge and qualifications are important to you, which we imagine it is, then you will want to read on. In this post, we’ll covered off on the fundamental difference between the two and the importance of entrusting a Plastic Surgeon with your procedure.

Knowledge is power. At CosMediTour, it is important to us that our clients feel equipped to make an informed decision about their Surgeon. Equally important is ensuring our clients have full trust in their Surgeon’s expertise, experience and knowledge. In the interest of client safety and exceptional client results, CosMediTour only work with highly experienced, qualified Plastic Surgeons.

Plastic Surgeon vs Cosmetic Surgeon – What is the difference?

Plastic Surgeons in Australia are highly qualified Plastic and Reconstructive Specialists who have gone on to complete a significant amount of highly regulated specialist training after completing their initial medical degree. The differences between a Plastic Surgeon vs Cosmetic Surgeon are summarised below.  

Plastic Surgeon

A Plastic Surgeon is a highly qualified Plastic & Reconstructive Specialists. They have at least 12 years of Medical and Surgical Education in total. This includes:

  • A Medical Degree
  • A Minimum of 5 years Post Graduate Study
  • A Further 8 – 12 years of additional Specialist training Plastic Surgery
  • On graduating, they become a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS). Plastic Surgeons have FRACS after their name (or the International equivalent)

A Plastic Surgeon is registered and recognised a Specialist Surgeon in Plastic Surgery by Medicare, The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and all Health Departments across Australia.

Cosmetic Surgeon

*Any registered Doctor with a Medical Degree call themselves a Cosmetic Surgeon. They are not required unergo to any specialised surgical training. The minimum formal medical training includes: 

  • A Medical Degree
  • A Minimum of 5 years Post Graduate Study

Cosmetic Surgeons are not recognised a Specialist Surgeon in Plastic Surgery by Medicare, AHPRA, nor any Health Department in Australia.

What is the difference between a Plastic Surgeon and a Cosmetic Surgeon


It always pays to do your own research or simply ask during before your consultation. Under the new Guidelines, your Medical Practitioner must inform you of their registration type, including whether they are a qualified or accredited Plastic Surgeon or Cosmetic Surgeon. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) also has register of qualified Medical Practioners in Australia where you can check to see if your Doctor is a registered Specialist Plastic Surgeon.

CosMediTour clients can be confident knowing that they will only be treated by highly qualified, experienced and trusted Specialist Plastic Surgeons.

Does the Additional Knowledge & Experience Really Matter?

Yes, it absolutely does. The technical knowledge and expertise that Plastic Surgeons acquire through years of eduction, training and on the job experience in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is beyond measure.

The Plastic Surgery Recommendation you receive from our Plastic Surgeons will be one that has optimal surgical and aesthetic outcomes. CosMediTour Plastic Surgeons understand that everyone’s anatomy is different and they tailor their surgical approach accordingly. Your desired outcomes will always be balanced with your safety and wellbeing. And you can rest assured that you will recieve unparalleled support, care and expertise well into your recovery.


*From 1 July 2023, new industry-wide Australian Government Guidelines came into effect to prioritise patient safety by raising standards across the board and increasing safety measures.

Prior to 1 July 2023, any registered Doctor with a MBBS Degree Medical Degree (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) could work as a Cosmetic Surgeon. They were not required to undertake additional formal surgical skills training or have experience in cosmetic surgery procedures. More specifically, they were not required to have completed additional specialised surgical training for invasive procedures, such as Plastic Surgery. Cosmetic Doctors were required to have approximately 6 years of formal medical training; however, this time did not necessarily need to be performing or learning about surgery.

The Australian Government now mandates that Cosmetic Surgeons must, at a minimum have the appropriate knowledge, training and experience to perform the surgery and manage any complications. They are required to complete Surgical Skills training, more specific training for the procedures they offer and supervised practice. They are also required to participate regularly in continuing professional development.

FURTHER Information

To learn more about the difference between Plastic vs Cosmetic Surgeons, feel free to connect with our friendly Client Support Team.