ASAPS Launches ‘Know The Difference’ Campaign

Do you know the difference between a plastic and cosmetic surgeon? 

Working in the aesthetics industry, you could quickly answer the above question. One is a legal and accredited title, and the other doesn’t exist in the eyes of the law. However, not everyone is afforded the same knowledge, which is why The Australasian Society Of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) launched its latest campaign.

Know The Difference campaign is helping to educate consumers and media on the difference between registered and unregistered surgeons. The campaign includes a Surgeon Checker where consumers can search for their surgeon in the Royal Australian College of Surgeons (RACS) database to confirm their qualifications. Close to 60 per cent of cosmetic surgery patients would have chosen differently had they known their doctor was not a qualified plastic surgeon, according to ASAPS Cosmetic Surgery and Non-surgical Complications (2019).

Only doctors registered as specialists in the recognised specialty of ‘plastic surgery’ can call themselves plastic surgeons. Those with no specialist surgical registration portray themselves as surgeons by using the title ‘cosmetic surgeon’, and some of them are putting patients at serious risk. ASAPS is hoping the Know The Difference campaign will help consumers make informed decisions when choosing a practitioner.

The Stats

These are some of the statistics from the McNair Study on Patient Safety in Cosmetic Surgery:

  • 93 per cent of of Australians agree that it would be easier for patients to differentiate between surgeons and doctors, if all practitioners were to go by their official AHPRA title.
  • 86 per cent of of Australians agree that any doctor without any surgical training who is using the title ‘surgeon’ is wrong.
  • 77 per cent of Australians agree that banning the term “cosmetic surgeon” would help patients to separate the doctors from the surgeons.

New ASAPS President

Newly appointed ASAPS President, Dr Rob Sheen

In other news, ASAPS has also appointed a new president. Dr Rob Sheen has taken over Dr Naveen Somia as ASAPS president. Dr Sheen has been a committee member of ASAPS and also wrote its positioning paper on titling. In the words of the former ASAP president, Dr Somia, “there is nobody in Australia who knows titling as well as Rob does.”


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