How to Avoid Botched Cosmetic Surgery: 7 Timely Tips

Social Media and Cosmetic Surgery - smart-consumers-of-cosmetic-surgery-social-media

No one wants to make a mistake when it comes to choosing a Surgeon. That’s particularly the case for cosmetic surgery that is elective and aimed at enhancing your appearance, not making it worse. With social media sharing of cosmetic plastic surgery results confusing patients about which doctors are actually qualified in this highly complex area of surgery, here are 7 Timely Tips to Avoid Botched Cosmetic Surgery.  This blog originally published in November 2017; updated in October 2018.

Avoid Botched Cosmetic Surgery: First, know WHO is going to operate on you and what their EXACT medical training and SURGICAL qualifications are.  Look it up. If they’ve qualified as a Surgeon, they’ll have FRACS (Plas).

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. Perhaps, instead, they may be a GP, dentist or skin doctor who performs cosmetic surgery but isn’t a member of RACS (Royal Australian College of Surgeons).

Or even choosing a doctor who pursued an entirely different area of medicine other than Cosmetic Plastic Surgery; who isn’t actually a recognised as a RACS qualified Surgeon (a genuine Qualified Surgeon will be a member/fellow of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons – look for FRACS by their name).

Perhaps they are a GP or Dermatologist who’s turned his or her hand to cosmetic procedures, and they are not actually a RACS recognised Plastic/Cosmetic Surgeon at all?

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

So here’s our team’s TOP TIPS for avoiding botched cosmetic surgery!

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

TIP 1: If you want to be AVOID Botched Cosmetic Surgery disasters, you’ll want to be an INFORMED consumer of Cosmetic Surgery information.

How? It’s very important that you find out about what actual surgery procedures involve; but it’s likely MORE important that you research the different types of Surgeons and Doctors who offer cosmetic operations and procedures in Melbourne.  Not all of whom are actually recognised by AHPRA or RACS as being highly trained to perform plastic, cosmetic or reconstructive Surgery. And certainly, not all have the extensive training and expertise of a genuine Plastic Surgeon dedicated to performing Cosmetic, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery of the breast, body and face.  So to avoid a botched cosmetic surgery, beware of what you’re actually purchasing when you choose a Surgeon.


Is it a genuine Plastic Surgeon with FRACS?  Or is it some other doctor who jumped onto the cosmetic procedure bandwagon without pursuing that line of study at great length?

Details: Nearly anyone can call themselves a Cosmetic Surgeon. But a Plastic Surgeon has gained advanced surgical qualifications and FRACS recognition by focusing on the field of Plastic, Cosmetic & Reconstructive medicine.

  • The two ‘types’ of doctors are NOT the same.
  • The more you know about the differences between professionals who operate, the more likely you’ll be to avoid a botched cosmetic procedure.

FRACS means Specialist Surgeon Qualifications - Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons.

A genuine recognised Plastic Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgeon will have FRACS and either ASAPS, ASPS, ISAPS or similar affiliations.

These memberships reflect a commitment to, and a pledge or promise, to pursue patient safety measures, surgical excellence and ongoing training.

An informed consumer of cosmetic surgery information will be well aware that DISCOUNT overseas medical tourism cosmetic surgery is NOT always the bargain they thought they were getting.


Tip 2: Thinking about overseas surgery and discounted medical tourism cosmetic surgery? Beware.

In any given month, a number of botched cosmetic surgery procedures happen with less trained doctors or with patients who fly overseas looking for a bargain cosmetic procedure.

BEWARE of the risks and dangers of medical tourism, including infections, medications, and having no follow up or flying too soon after surgery.

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


Scenario examples:
  • 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), which could succumb to a staph infection from unfiltered water – it’s best not to take these kinds of risk.
    • Bacteria laden water or unusual germs your body isn’t accustomed to can even get in to your system through your nose during a shower or swimming pool visit, and it can seep into your surgical incision area (surgical wound) and through bandages.
    • Even brushing our teeth could bring unhealthy water into your system – it’s not great to have gastric upsets or frequent vomiting or infections when you’re trying to heal from surgery and minimise your scars!


Tip 3: Going overseas to a place you can’t drink the water without becoming ill? Consider the risks to your incision lines and gastric well-being as you’re healing.

  • What about your cosmetic surgery and the risks of different water bacteria in relation to your well-being, patient safety and healing time?
  • Do you think throwing up just after surgery is good for your healing – or your tummy tuck scars?
  • Don’t risk a skin infection that could worsen your scars or – worse yet – lead to some very dangerous health scenarios.

Tip 4: Flying after surgery isn’t the best idea. So too is having a FLY IN/FLY OUT Surgeon you might not have access to as you’re healing over time.

If you fly too soon after surgery, you will increase your risks (below).

  • Even Surgeons who fly in and fly out of different regions (FIFO Surgeons) aren’t always going to be there for you if you have a concern or complication needing treatment in the weeks after your surgery.
  • Isn’t it best that your chosen Surgeon and his or her team will be relatively accessible to you after surgery, not having to wait 3 to 4 weeks until they’re back in town again? 

What are some of the recognised risks of overseas medical tourism?

  • Cosmetic Surgery patients have higher risks of getting a DVT or blood clot if they fly home too soon after having cosmetic surgery overseas.
  • The medications used overseas may not be the right kind, might be fake or less effective than what is on offer in Australia.
  • Antibiotic Resistant Pathogenic microorganisms can lead to infections that could become are life-threatening.
  • Communication is compromised if your Surgeon is (a) not accessible well in advance and (b) not fluent in your language and customs.
  • You could end up with the wrong size implants for your body, or increased Asymmetry, if the Surgeon isn’t as skilled as you were led to believe – or can’t understand what you’re asking for in terms of results.


Excerpt on the Dangers of Flying after Surgery from an article in the Washington Post published by Rita Zeidner.


Excerpt on dangers of medical tourism and flying too soon after surgery:

Be an Informed Consumer of Cosmetic Surgery and Plastic Surgery

(End of except. For full article, click here.)

  • How far in advance of your Surgery will you get to meet – and have an open dialogue with – your Surgeon to discuss not only your medical history in detail, but your PREFERENCES for Surgery and WHY you are wanting to have surgery?
  • If thinking about overseas tourism cosmetic surgery, do you even know for sure WHO the Surgeon is actually going to be for your procedure (and is there a guarantee of that? Or will you get a new trainee, colleague or assistant rather than the face the tourism organisation promotes?)
  • Do you know FOR SURE what actual surgical training and qualifications they’ve had – and what that means, exactly – compared to that of an Australian Specialist Plastic Surgeon?
  • Do they customise surgery to meet your body type (face, skin or nose) – or is it ‘one fits all’ cookie cutter style approach to keep the surgical production line moving?

Ask yourself and do your research: is your overseas Cosmetic Doctor or Cosmetic Surgeon actually recognised as a high-level Specialist by their countries top medical boards? Or is the cosmetic surgery advertising a cheap option because they are using less-trained or less-experienced doctors?

  • Has your Surgeon ever been involved with top Plastic Surgery affiliations such as ASAPS, ASAPS (USA), ISAPS, and others?
  • Are they globally trained and monitored by a professional medical board?
  • Do they attend the plastic surgery conferences (these conferences are often restricted to bonafide Plastic Surgeons as attendees).
  • Have they ever published or given a presentation to audiences at global conferences covering latest advances in Plastic Surgery trends, safety and longevity of results?
  • Do they regularly attend important industry conferences, such as those held by leaders in Plastic Surgery research and patient safety measures, including conferences held by the Breast Masters, ASAPS (USA), ASAPS (AUS) & NZAPS?


Excerpt of another article from CANSTAR about medical tourism including the risks – an unexpected costs – of ‘discounted overseas cosmetic surgery offers:‘  dangers-medical-tourism-cosmetic-surgery-thailand

(End Excerpt. Source:

Tip 5: Understand the value of choosing a locally-based Plastic Surgeon compared to Discount Medical Tourism options for Cosmetic Surgery.

  • A local Surgeon is accessible
  • A local Surgeon is known by the community and has a stake in your long-term results
  • A good Surgeon knows that your post-surgery after-care is paramount to a good recovery and ongoing well-being when it comes to healing after cosmetic surgery.
    • Aftercare for many surgeries includes visits with your Surgeon a day after (and/or) a week after, with follow ups typically between 2 to 3 weeks and again at 6 weeks, 12 weeks and 6 months (variable).

If you leave the location where you had surgery after just a few weeks, not only do you risk higher complications from flying too soon after surgery, but you won’t have that long-term follow up.

    • If you have a complication, you may find most local doctors unable or unwilling to assist you.
    • This may feel frustrating, but some things simply cannot be fixed with a secondary procedure
    • And if the original primary surgery is detrimental, no amount of revisions will leave you happy and patients like this find they end up regretting EVERY medical experience, including revisions.
    • Plus, the complexity of revision attempts means they are extremely costly. If you took an overseas option to recognise a discount, how will you feel when you need revision plastic surgery that is not only costly but stressful and unlikely to leave you as happy as if the surgery was done correctly the first time?
    • Don’t stress – choose wisely!


  • The “best time to get cosmetic plastic surgery right is the first time” notes Dr Rubinstein.
  • Recognising there are complication risks and varying responses to surgery and scar healing no matter what Surgeon, location or procedure you choose…ask yourself this: Do you really want to increase your risks of complications by going overseas – where you won’t have follow up care or RECOURSE should a complication occur?
  • Remember, revision surgery is costly. You may end up needing to spend 3 times to 5 times the original discounted amount of an overseas surgery and still not have a remedy you’re happy with.
  • We hear too many stories like this and they are also all over the news.

Stay informed and check the qualifications of your doctor – is your doctor a genuine Surgeon and if so, in what field of medicine?

  • If you feel you can ONLY afford cheap surgery overseas, you may be BEST OFF NOT HAVING IT at all until you can.  Or try exploring other options, like investigating early withdrawal of Super as sometimes is done for skin reduction after weight loss post-Bariatric Surgery, or Breast Reduction when there is back, neck and shoulder pain.
  • Post-operative care is a crucial part of your procedure to ensure you’re looked after if complications arise, and you can receive reassurance if you have any concerns.
  • This level of care is not always available for overseas patients.
  • Neglectful post-operative care can lead to serious problems if complications are not immediately addressed.

Meet the Cosmetic Surgery for Women & Men’s group of local MELBOURNE Surgeons – who are Specialist Plastic Surgeons with FRACS recognition/fellowship.

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.

TO meet with one of our Melbourne or Sydney surgeons, call (03) 8849 1444 and let us know what you’re hoping to achieve.

You can schedule a consultation or attend an EVENT to meet our team.

Tip 6: Remember, Australia is a world leader in Plastic Surgery for cosmetic, plastic and corrective surgery of the face, nose, breast and body.

Plastic Surgeons in Australia are dedicated to ongoing training and sharing their knowledge with their peers to improve cosmetic plastic surgery outcomes across the country.  They also regularly attend and speak at international events with other world-recognised leaders in Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery and non-surgical rejuvenation.

Tip  7: Know your motivations for having surgery, and learn all you can about what the process is going to be like. This can help you follow the ultra-important post-operation instructions and allow you to cope better with the surgery experience.

A good experience requires that you are having surgery for the right reasons, at the right time in your life, with the right approach and attitude, and a willingness to collaborate with your Surgeon to enable a positive experience and pleasing result.  Never have surgery to please someone else, and if you’re not sure about something, ASK. Stay reasonable about expectations in relation to surgery, listen, inform and read what you’ve been given; take time to absorb it, and it’s a good idea to get a second opinion especially if you’re not comfortable about something.

In our clinic, if desired, you can typically get an independent second opinion from another one of our Surgeons, as they operate independently and all have unique focus areas and different personalities.  

Our Plastic Surgeons and our dedicated Eyelid Rejuvenation Surgeon are urging people to consider whether it’s actually worth putting your body, health, or even your life at risk – to try to save a bit of money that you may or may not end up saving.

They regularly attend global conferences and continuing education to help you have a positive surgery experience and they are dedicated to custom planning, artisan technical skills and natural-looking results that are also long-lasting. Plus, they aim to give honest advice about what surgery can and cannot accomplish.

Save that PLANE TRIP and HOLIDAY for AFTER you’ve fully recovered from your surgery here in Melbourne!

Then you can REALLY relax and not spend your holiday worrying if you’ve made the right decision about your Surgeon.

Consumer of Cosmetic Surgery - flying-after-cosmetic-surgery-how-long

Our final tip:

Ensure your chosen Surgeon for cosmetic surgery is a member/fellow of RACS (look for FRACS).

And it help to check with AHPRA to assess if they are actually a Specialist Surgeon and in what field of medicine they have gained that recognition.

Be sure they are also highly experienced and respected by their patients and peers alike, before you go ahead with your chosen procedure.

In other words, avoid overseas risks for medical procedures, and find a FRACS Plastic Surgeon with a good track record of patient satisfaction, ongoing education and patient-care follow-up.

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.