This Difference In Medical Titles Could Cost You

April 9, 2018

After seeing a Facebook advertisement for a breast augmentation, Gold Coast mum Samantha Humm decided to go ahead with the procedure booking in her appointment with a doctor who called himself a cosmetic surgeon.

After Samantha woke up from the surgery she felt fine but a week later her breast starting leaking. She went back to the surgeon who gave her antibiotics and told her that everything was fine. This happened a few more times with the surgeon claiming that her breast would eventually heal.

But after she could actually feel the silicon inside her and when it started to stick out, she went to the hospital, where the nurses and plastics team where horrified, claiming that the surgeon had butchered her.

But the incomprehensible thing was that the surgeon who performed the procedure didn’t break any laws.

This is due to the severe lack of regulation and confusion about the term ‘cosmetic surgeon’

There have been several cases of mistreatment with a group of Australian women launching a class action against Australia’s largest cosmetic surgery clinic, The Cosmetic Institute (TCI), claiming botched breast augmentations left them with serious health consequences.

Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons president Professor Mark Ashton says clear industry regulations are needed to prevent this sort of tragedy.

“We’re concerned about the lack of clarity and transparency around the term ‘cosmetic surgery’,” Professor Ashton said.

“Many people are advertising themselves as cosmetic surgeons when they have undergone little or no formal training in surgery.

“There are a lot of people promoting themselves beyond their level of expertise and the community as a whole is very confused about what the term ‘cosmetic surgeon’ actually means.”

“Strictly speaking, nobody should use the term cosmetic surgeon at all. It’s not a title that’s recognised by the Medical Board of Australia,” said the Cosmetic Physicians College of Australasia spokeswoman Dr Mary Dingley.

You’re either a plastic surgeon or a cosmetic medicine practitioner.

“You can say that you perform cosmetic surgery, but you can’t actually use the title ‘cosmetic surgeon’. I’m not a surgeon, I only perform non-surgical procedures so I call myself a cosmetic medicine practitioner,” Dr Dingley said.

“Any doctor, any person with an MBBS [a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery] is entitled to perform surgery that they feel competent and trained to do,” Dr Dingley said.

“No GP is going to perform brain surgery, because they don’t have access to the hospital equipment. But the skin is far more accessible and people feel as it’s more superficial, it’s not so dangerous.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has previously spoken about a national approach that will protect patients.

“They will have better advice, better protection and better standards that will be dealt with through the Medical Board of Australia,” Mr Hunt said.

Samantha wants the government to act now and introduce clear laws and regulations to protect other women.

“There should be rules that tell you that cosmetic surgeons don’t have the experience of a plastic surgeon,” she said.

“I always thought that someone who called themselves a cosmetic surgeon did the training. I didn’t realise that they didn’t have that same sort of training as plastic surgeons.”

Information was sourced from

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