Choosing your chest surgeon

You will need a specialist Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon to complete your chest reconstructive surgery.

Firstly, you need to know there is an important difference between cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery in Australia.

  • Anyone with a medical degree can perform cosmetic surgery in Australia.
  • It takes an extra 8-10 years of specialist medical training to perform plastic surgery in Australia.

The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) suggest four steps when you choose your surgeon.

1 Make a list of the surgeons you want to see.

Ask friends who have had a similar procedure; ask your GP; or ring the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (tel 1300 367 446). Be careful of media accounts of surgeons as sometimes these are paid advertisements by a surgeon.

  • To start finding helpful and supportive medical providers, join OzGuys.

2 Always check the credentials of the surgeon you’re planning to see.

Australia has one of the most rigorous training requirements in the world for surgeons, especially for our plastic surgeons. Only surgeons with FRACS after their name are accredited by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) or its equivalent. You can always telephone the College on 1300 367 446 to check a surgeon’s credentials.

Your surgeon should be a member of The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and have the acronym ASPS after their name. Qualified, suitable plastic surgeons won’t be offended if you ask questions about their experience and credentials.

You should always ask if your surgeon has ‘hospital privileges’ to do your surgery in a hospital or a day procedure centre. Not all surgeons have ‘hospital privileges’.

3 Make an appointment for a consultation.

You will need to get a referral from your GP to see the surgeon. Always ask questions of your surgeon. While you are interviewing your surgeon, they are also interviewing you. Remember, your surgeon has never met you before. They don’t have an established relationship with you like your GP does.

The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) encourages their surgeons to give you a ‘cooling off’ period. This is to ensure neither you nor your surgeon is rushed into a decision. Expect to return to the surgeon for a second consultation.

Before operating on your healthy body, your surgeon will probably ask for a ‘clearance’ from a psychiatrist (sometimes two independent psychiatrists), to ensure that you have no psychiatric illness driving your desire for surgery. It is common for a surgeon to ask for this and it is just part of the procedure.

Most surgeons in Australia prefer you to be on testosterone therapy for a period of time before surgery. This allows for the breast fat to redistribute according to your personal male pattern and they can see the underlying structure of your natural chest and your muscle definition much easier.

4 The last step is making the decision.

If you’ve done your homework on the surgeon, asked questions, checked credentials and experience and talked to others who’ve already had surgery with that surgeon, then choosing a surgeon should be straightforward.