Plastic and reconstructive surgeon

What they do

Plastic and reconstructive surgeons repair and reconstruct muscle and tissue injuries to restore form, function and appearance. They can repair cleft lips and palates and other congenital defects, provide skin grafting and reconstruction for burns and cancer removals, and reshape bones and insert implants to rebuild the skull and facial structures.

They can repair body parts damaged by trauma, illness or malformation. They may also perform cosmetic surgery to improve aesthetic appearance.

There are over 40 plastic and reconstructive surgeons in Western Australia, most of whom work in the Perth metropolitan area.

Working conditions

Plastic and reconstructive surgeons work in private consultation practices or public hospitals, or both. They may also supervise and teach medical students. They may be required to work long shifts, odd hours and weekends. They may also be required to be on-call in case of an emergency.

Plastic and reconstructive surgeons operate in completely sterile theatre rooms and must wear protective clothing.

Tools and technologies

Plastic and reconstructive surgeons use a range of specialised surgical instruments while operating on patients, such as tissue forceps, scalpels, tenotomy scissors, dermatomes, saws and bone drills. They may also use equipment designed for keyhole surgery, allowing them to operate inside a patient without the need for a large incision. They must wear sterile surgical attire while operating.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, you must first become a qualified medical doctor and then specialise in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

To become a medical practitioner, you need to study a degree in medicine. Alternatively, you can study a degree in any discipline followed by a postgraduate degree in medicine.

Some universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

To specialise in plastic and reconstructive surgery, doctors must apply to the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) to complete the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Surgical Education and Training Program and ultimately receive fellowship.

To be eligible for this specialist training, on completion of your medical degree, you must work in the public hospital system for two years (internship and residency).

Required registration and licensing

To work as a plastic and reconstructive surgeon in Western Australia, you will need to obtain registration from the Medical Board of Australia.