Rules regarding use of ‘cosmetic surgeon’ title needed to protect patients

27th Aug 2021

The use of the term ‘cosmetic surgeon’ by doctors without appropriate, specialist surgery qualifications can confuse potential patients, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

“Too many clients who seek legal assistance after botched surgery are surprised to find that the ‘cosmetic surgeon’ they have consulted has no recognised surgical qualifications,” said Ms Ngaire Watson, barrister and medical law spokesperson for the ALA. 

The use of the title ‘cosmetic surgeon’ by registered medical practitioners can mislead consumers to believe that the practitioner in question has completed the additional training required to become a qualified surgeon.

“Currently any medical practitioner can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon and market themselves as such. This is very confusing for prospective patients who are unable to determine which qualifications are needed to perform the cosmetic surgery they are considering,” said Ms Watson.

“Often it is young women who are considering cosmetic procedures and they can be especially vulnerable to misleading promotion.

“Lawyers regularly see clients who have suffered terrible complications following surgery by insufficiently qualified and skilled medical practitioners. There appears to be a correlation between the surgical outcomes and the training and qualifications of the medical practitioner.

“More needs to be done to ensure the satisfaction and safety of cosmetic surgery consumers.

“Further guidelines should be introduced to provide greater clarity to practitioners who advertise cosmetic treatments, in order to increase public safety. Restricting the use of the term ‘cosmetic surgeon’ to doctors with the appropriate qualification is an important step in the right direction.”

Tags: Cosmetic Surgery Medical law