How to Avoid Botched Cosmetic Surgery: 7 Timely Tips


Everyone wants to AVOID Botched Cosmetic Surgery. But what can YOU do to minimise your risks?

No one wants to make a mistake when it comes to having cosmetic surgery aimed at enhancing your appearance, not detracting from it or making it look unnatural. Sadly, social media sharing of surgery results, questionable advertising and even local television shows have continued to add to the CONFUSION people have about which TYPES of doctors are actually qualified, trained and accredited to perform complex cosmetic surgery procedures. Because even a GP can use the label ‘cosmetic surgeon’, with patients UNAWARE of what that MEANS, here are 7 Timely Tips to Avoid Botched Cosmetic Surgery.

We even have links to handy GUIDES about procedures so you can become BETTER informed about how to avoid botched cosmetic surgery and increase your chances for a good result.

  • Remember, ALL invasive surgery has risks and patient results can vary, no matter WHICH Surgeon you select.
  • Not everything goes to plan, even in the best of hands; and complication risks are covered in your consultation.
  • However, by putting yourself in the hands of the best of the best Plastic Surgeons in Australia, you’ll at least know you’re choosing a fully-qualified Surgeon who spent a lifetime working on their plastic and cosmetic surgery skills compared to a GP, dentist or other medical doctor who didn’t gain Specialist Qualifications.

Avoid Botched Cosmetic Surgery: 7 Timely Tips

This blog, published in November 2017 and updated in December 2018, provides TIPS to help you understand HOW to choose a good Surgeon AND what to keep in mind before consenting to a procedure – and the dangers of overseas tourism.

how to be an informed consumer of cosmetic surgery information and plastic surgery research

TIP 1: Find out WHO is operating and what qualifies them to do so?

It’s best to know WHO is actually going to operate on you AND what their EXACT medical training and SURGICAL qualifications are.

  • Look it up. If they’ve qualified as a Specialist Plastic, Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgeon, they’ll have FRACS (Plas) and likely belong to ASPS, ASAPS and ISAPS
  • They will also have the title of Specialist Plastic Surgeon – a protected medical title, meaning that cosmetic surgeons, GPs, dentists and skin doctors CANNOT use the term
  • A genuine recognised Plastic Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgeon will have FRACS and either ASAPS, ASPS, ISAPS or similar affiliations

There’s something confronting about choosing a doctor who presents their online persona as a Specialist Surgeon, but who ISN’T actually a Specialist Surgeon at all.

Look for:


With social media spreading confusion as well as mis-information, it’s important to learn how to avoid botched Cosmetic Surgery.


These memberships reflect a COMMITMENT and a PLEDGE or PROMISE to pursue patient safety measures, surgical excellence and ongoing training.

TIP 2: Read up on the many media stories about the dangers of medical tourism

Thinking about bargain shopping for discounted, overseas performed cosmetic surgery? Read the news – and think again.

In any given month, a number of cosmetic surgery procedures result in BOTCHED RESULTS from less trained doctors, doctors in training and overseas hospitals where patients have ZERO recourse if something GOES wrong. 

  • BEWARE of the DANGERS of cosmetic medical tourism, such as:
    • infections, medication difference, bacteria
    • flying too soon after surgery
    • not having any follow up care or recourse
    • communication challenges / language barriers about “what you’re wanting or about to have done”
    • unknown breast implants that are NOT approved for use in Australia

For more on the dangers of Overseas Medical Tourism, do your Research! Dr Rubinstein also discuss overseas surgery dangers at free monthly patient Events in Hawthorn.


“If you can’t drink the water safely in an overseas location, why on earth would you risk having surgery there?”

Tip 3: Consider the WATER BACTERIA risks of having SURGERY overseas

Going overseas to a place you can’t drink the water without becoming ill?

  • If you’ve had surgery and are ‘recuperating’ overseas, you’ll be tempted to shower, bathe or swim in local waters.
  • That might be fine at a time you’ve NOT got an at-risk skin opening (surgery incision line).

However, if you just had cosmetic surgery overseas:

  • Be aware that overseas waters may carry unusual GERMS your body simply isn’t accustomed to, which is why so many people fall prey to TOURISTA and BALI BELLY
  • This water can get into your system more readily than you realise – including through your nose during a shower or swimming pool visit
  • If Bacteria laden water seeps into your surgical incision areas (your surgical wounds) through your bandages, you can end up in REAL trouble, very quickly
  • Even brushing our teeth could bring unhealthy water into your system
  • Imagine the joys of gastro-related vomiting or serious staph infections when you’re trying to minimise your scars and heal from surgery – in a place where medical care isn’t guaranteed to be overseen to the same standard levels or training requirements as Australia’s medical system

Remember, too, there’s NO follow up care overseas – you may NEVER see your Surgeon again. This means ZERO recourse if they botch your nose job, tummy tuck or breast surgery.

Tip 4: Don’t FLY

Flying after cosmetic surgery could be dangerous.

Flying too soon after surgery isn’t a great idea.   Reference: (Washington Post article)Plus, if you leave the REGION where you had surgery AFTER just a few days or weeks, NOT ONLY do you RISK higher complications from flying too soon after surgery, you won’t have that long-term follow up. 

  • Flying shortly after surgery increases your surgery complication risks, particularly DVT risks, which can be deadly
  • Even a FLY IN/FLY OUT Surgeon might NOT be able to provide you with recovery care over time (exception: Surgeons belonging to a large groups have more patient recovery care options and follow-up opportunities than do Surgeons who operate as sole Surgeon clinics or who operate overseas)

Ask a FRACS (Plas) surgeon how LONG you should wait before FLYING after having a plastic surgery or cosmetic surgery procedure – don’t risk doing it too soon!

Tip 5: Choose from the best of the best LOCAL Plastic Surgeons who care about YOUR success

A well-known Surgeon’s reputation is at stake every time they see a patient; hence, a locally based Surgeon may care MORE about your results than someone living overseas, who may never see or hear from you again.

Understand the VALUE of choosing a locally-based Plastic Surgeon compared to a production-line style Cosmetic Surgery group or overseas facility.

Choosing from some of the best Surgeons nearby  means your Plastic Surgeon:

  • recognises your post-surgery after-care is paramount to a good recovery
  • is likely to be more accessible when you NEED them – including during recovery period check ups and annual reviews
  • has a long-established clinic that is well-known IN your community
  • has a stake in your long-term results AND your surgery results satisfaction

Additionally, local FRACS recognised Surgeons may offer quality assurance measures and quality service reviews (patient satisfaction surveys) to continually strive for patient care improvements.

  • They also tend to AVOID unproven methods and riskier techniques that less trained doctors might be willing to ‘try.’
  • They share their knowledge with peers in the cosmetic industry and contribute regularly to case study reviews and peer-reviewed surgery research.


Meet our nearby MELBOURNE Specialist Plastic Surgeons – all with FRACS recognition/fellowship and a dedication to ongoing education, patient care excellence and natural-looking, balanced results.

Plastic Surgeons Cosmetic Surgery for Women and Men

We also have one of Melbourne’s leading Eyelid Surgery experts, Dr Benjamin Burt, an Oculoplastic Surgeon, who is one of the leading Eyelid Surgery experts in Australia.

Tip 6: Go LOCAL with a nearby Hospital in Australia

  • Remember, Australia hospitals have VERY HIGH quality assurance standards including:
    • sterilisation
    • patient care
    • nursing ratios
    • infection control measures
    • pain management strategies
    • proper medications including antibiotics

Nearby hospitals in Melbourne, Victoria where our Surgeons operate include:


Tip  7: Evaluate WHY you are having surgery and consider getting that SECOND opinion

  • It’s important to know your personal motivations for having elective surgery. NEVER have surgery to please anyone OTHER THAN yourself, or in an attempt to win back a romantic interest.
  • Good cosmetic surgery results are MOST LIKELY attainable when you make sure you are:
    • having the RIGHT SURGERY
    • having surgery the RIGHT REASONS
    • choosing the RIGHT SURGEON
    • having your operation in the RIGHT FACILITY
    • scheduling surgery at the RIGHT TIME of your life.
  • It’s wise to learn ALL you can about what the process and recovery experience is going to be like, but to also recognise experiences vary from person to person and to keep your expectations realistic

Understanding your personal MOTIVATIONS for having cosmetic surgery helps you:

  • keep your expectations in check
  • follow the ultra-important post-operation instructions
  • cope better with the surgery and RECOVERY experience
  • NOT expect Surgery to perform a miracle or replace healthy lifestyle habits
  • evaluate your readiness for surgery
    • mindset is important for a positive experience during recovery
    • don’t have surgery if you’re not in an emotionally great place
    • if you’re struggling emotionally or with mental health concerns, it’s FAR better to WAIT to have surgery, and instead work on your mental health FIRST
    • look into counselling, lifeline and other support options
    • let your Surgeon know if you have concerns about your emotional readiness for surgery
    • recognise there are many great counsellors and groups that can offer support – including lifeline

For one of the most important decisions of your life, cosmetic or plastic surgery is worth doing properly – with a qualified, skilled and experienced Surgeon – or maybe not at all.

Visit our Downloadable Guides pages

For more information about Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery options and research in Australia.

cosmetic surgery for women and men Downloadable guides Female Plastic Surgeon Melbourne

Download our free guides or phone (03) 8849 1444 or 1800033333 today – and ask for a no-obligation consultation.

Recommended reading:


Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (Find specialist plastic surgeons via ASPS), ASPS Patient Safety Regulated by Plastic Surgery Regulation Laws),  Information for Plastic Surgery and Cosmetic Surgery patients, Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency AHPRA (Register of practitioners), Health Victoria (The Department of Health and Human Services)


Want more information before scheduling a consultation with your Surgeon?

*   DOWNLOAD A GUIDE about the procedure or contact us
*   Book a 15 MIN CHAT with the Patient Care Team
*   Attend a FREE MONTHLY INFORMATION EVENING and hear from our Team of Specialist Plastic Surgeons and past patients.

Please Contact Us using the form below to arrange a consultation with one of our Specialist Plastic Surgeons or to speak with our Patient Care Team on (03) 8849 1444

Visit our FAQ pages, learn more about your procedure and also have a look at our BEFORE & AFTER PHOTOS.


Our team of Specialist Plastic Surgeons’ affiliations include:


Author profile image
Dr Geoff Barnett
Dr Geoffrey Barnett, FRACS (Plas) is a Melbourne based Specialist Plastic Surgeon who has over 35 years of expertise in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon for Cosmetic Surgery, Plastic Surgery and Body Contouring Surgery after Bariatric Surgery.Qualifications and Memberships: Specialist Plastic Surgeon (FRACS) Member - Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery [FRACS (Plast).The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) is the only professional body recognised by the Australian Medical Council (AMC) and the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) to train Surgeons in Australia and New Zealand.Author BIO page: