When it comes to your Plastic Surgery operation, it makes sense to choose one who is registered as a Specialist in Plastic Surgery.
Before we share some tips on ‘how’ to choose your Plastic Surgeon, it is prudent to ask the question why is this important and why you should choose a Plastic Surgeon.
Let us start with an example. Imagine you are going on a holiday. You take a taxi or a ride share to the airport and take a flight to your holiday destination. You assume and expect the driver of the car and the pilot to be trained, registered, competent professionals who are 100% compliant with the laws and rules. Imagine if you discovered that your driver was not registered as a driver and your pilot was neither trained nor registered as a pilot. You will be horrified that an industry where your safety should be the number one priority is no longer safe. This will make you more vigilant and the next time you travel you will insist on knowing that you are in the hands of people who are not only competent but 100% compliant with the law.
This may come as a shock to you, but the Cosmetic Surgery industry in Australia is unregulated and doctors with no specialist training nor specialist registration are marketing themselves as “surgeons’’. With these doctors using unofficial titles like “cosmetic surgeon” the consumers are confused. The irony is that in 2021, you are more likely to encounter accurate labelling in the supermarket shelves than in the cosmetic surgery industry.
Let’s do a bit of ‘reverse engineering’ and look at the aesthetic outcome you want and how to go about getting it. When it comes to Cosmetic Surgery, everyone wants natural longer lasting results delivered safely without any complications by a trained and registered Surgeon.
Here are 6 tips that will help you in making a decision
Step 1: Find a Surgeon who Trained to the highest Australian Standards and registered by the Medical Board and AHPRA.
In Australia, Plastic Surgeons are registered as Specialists in Plastic Surgery by AHPRA ( Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Authority) after being trained to the highest Australian Standards defined by the Australian Medical Council ( AMC).
When you look up the AHPRA website www.ahpra.gov.au you should specifically look for 2 things.
- Whether your Surgeon is a registered specialist
- Whether your Surgeon is registered as a specialist in Plastic Surgery.
If your Surgeon is not registered by AHPRA as a specialist, it means that your ‘surgeon’ does not meet the Australian Standard for Specialist Registration. In that case, AHPRA will register him/her as one who has “General Registration”. General Registration is what EVERY doctor gets after completing Medical School. As soon as a Doctor becomes a specialist by completing AMC accredited training and the passing the necessary exams, that doctor’s registration status will be upgraded to SPECIALIST.
A doctor who practices Cosmetic Surgery or Plastic Surgery without being registered as a SPECIALIST by AHPRA means that this doctor has not fulfilled the criteria and met the Australian standards for specialist registration.
Both Surgeons at Forme Institute, Dr Jake Lim and Dr Naveen Somia are Specialist Plastic Surgeons and are registered by AHPRA as Specialists in Plastic Surgery.
Step 2: Find the right surgeon for the procedure you plan to have
There are multiple ways to go about finding the right surgeon for your procedure.
Ask your GP. Your GP will have your best interest at heart and will have a good idea about who would be the right Surgeon. GPs often refer their patients for specialist care and over the years would become aware of reputable specialists in Plastic Surgery.
Both Surgeons at Forme Institute, Dr Jake Lim and Dr Naveen Somia continue to receive many referrals from GPs every year who entrust the care of their patients.
Ask your friends and family for suggestions. Once you start doing your research, you will find that someone who knows someone has had Cosmetic Surgery. This is often a good place to start as ‘word of mouth’ referrals are very good.
Both Surgeons at Forme Institute, Dr Jake Lim and Dr Naveen Somia continue to receive many word of mouth referrals from happy patients.
Step 3: Social Media profiles and media articles
Once you have short listed a few Surgeons, you can have a look at their digital footprint across their websites, social media channels, media reports and third party websites such as realself.com
Being featured in the media usually indicates leadership and an acknowledgement of expertise.
Both Surgeons at Forme Institute, Dr Jake Lim and Dr Naveen Somia have been featured in mainstream media including digital, print and TV
Step 4: Contact the Professional Societies for Plastic Surgery to see if your Surgeon is a member
The Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and the Australian Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) are the peak bodies in Plastic Surgery. Membership of these societies suggests that your Surgeon is
- Registered as a Specialist in Plastic Surgery
- Committed to ongoing education and training as a part of continuous professional development
- Committed to the ethical practice of surgery
Both Surgeons at Forme Institute, Dr Jake Lim and Dr Naveen Somia are members of both ASAPS and ASPS and have a lifelong commitment to ongoing education and the ethical practice of Surgery.
Step 4: Which hospital will the operation takes place and who will be my Anaesthetist.
It is important that the Hospital where the operation will take place is licensed to perform cosmetic surgery. This is very important as your hospital choice will determine your safety. What you
want is a hospital with an excellent track record of safety capable of delivering you your aesthetic outcome safely without complications.
It is important that a Specialist Anaesthetist looks after your health and well-being during the operation while the Surgeon is busy doing what he or she is best at. We often hear stories of the operator doing the job of the surgeon and the anaesthetist. This is not ideal and does not reflect high safety standards of modern contemporary cosmetic surgery.
Both Surgeons at Forme Institute, Dr Jake Lim and Dr Naveen Somia operate only in accredited hospitals licensed to perform cosmetic surgery. Throughout their careers both Dr Lim and Dr Somia have worked with senior experienced specialist anaesthetists with years of experience and significant expertise.
Step 5: Book and in person consultation with your chosen Surgeon
This consultation is an important aspect of your decision making process. It is important that the Surgeon inspires confidence and trust in you. Sometimes people forget that Cosmetic Surgery is a serious medical procedure and continue to market it as a lifestyle product. Your surgeon should take time to explain the procedure, risks and complications and define the expectation that can be realistically achieved. You should feel comfortable that you are in safe hands and that you are confident that the surgeon can help you achieve your goals. If you feel rushed, pressured or unsure about the entire process it is time to get a second opinion. Often, your Surgeon will insist on a second follow up consultation to give you ample time to ask questions and clarify your doubts.
Plastic Surgery is not a “one size fits all” cookie cutter approach. It is a bespoke solution created especially for you by your Surgeon who will come up with a plan after asking you the relevant questions and performing a clinical examination.
Both Surgeons at Forme Institute, Dr Jake Lim and Dr Naveen Somia take time during their consultations to listen to your concerns, give you their professional opinion, show you representative photos of similar patients and go through in great detail the risks, benefits, complications, downtime and do’s and don’ts to get the best outcome. In addition, all information of the hospital together with transparency of the costs of the surgery and details of the anaesthetist will be provided. We believe that by providing enough information, enough time to ask questions and not rushing your decision, we can set you up for a successful outcome.
Step 6: Making the Final informed decision
Once you have all the information about the procedure, hospital, costs, risks and benefits, healing time, postoperative care it is time to choose your Surgeon. To know the difference between a Registered Specialist Plastic Surgeon and an unregistered specialist ‘cosmetic surgeon’ click here
FRACS (Plastic Surgery) – Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
Past President : ASAPS ( Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons)
Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)
PhD (Eyelid Surgery) – University of Louisville, USA