Awake Surgery: Twilight and Back Room Breast Augmentation

cheap breast augmentation in back rooms, difference between cosmetic surgeon and plastic surgeon - safety

Have you read about awake surgery (twilight Anaesthesia) for back room breast augmentation in the news lately? You may have heard from some doctors that awake surgery (Twilight anaesthetic) is a better option than hospital-based cosmetic breast surgery.

But dig deeper into the news about back room breast augmentation procedures, known as “awake breast implant surgery using twilight anaesthesia” and you may find valuable information to help you decide HOW and WHERE you want your breast augmentation procedure performed – and by what TYPE of Surgeon.

A Current Affair on Channel 9 aired a segment on Cheap Cosmetic Surgery in Sydney and Discount Breast Augmentation under Twilight Anaesthesia (3rd October 2017).

There is a lot of confusion in the health care industry about the differences between a Cosmetic Surgeon and a Plastic Surgeon.

  • A Plastic Surgeon will have FRACS qualifications and approximately 12 years of solid surgical training in cosmetic procedures (as an average), often more. Someone calling themselves a Cosmetic Surgeon might be anyone from a GP to a Dermatologist to an ENT.
  • There are actually NO formal or monitored training requirements to be able to use the title of Cosmetic Surgeon.

That means that nearly ANYONE can use the term Cosmetic Surgeon, without extensive surgical training – and many GPs and ENTs (even Dermatologists) do so, despite not having extensive training or ongoing monitoring that Plastic Surgeons require to maintain their Specialist titles.

cosmetic-surgeon-vs-plastic-surgeon-surgery-in-the-news, research into plastic cosmetic surgery

So what IS the difference between a Cosmetic Surgeon and a Specialist Plastic Surgeon (Plastic, Cosmetic & Reconstructive)?

A Specialist Plastic Surgeon has undergone at least 12 years of extensive, monitored training and testing.

Passing numerous exams and having extensive experience in performing plastic and cosmetic surgery allows these Surgeons to carry the Specialist medical title in Australia.

It allows them to gain FRACS membership, indicating a highly competent level of Surgical skill and patient safety awareness. 

In other words, they have had to pass stringent examinations for surgical procedures as well as having undertaken over a decade or more (sometimes two decades) of advanced training.

specialist-plastic-surgeon-melbourne breast reduction, breast augmentation

FRACS and Cosmetic Surgery Patient Safety

FRACS allows a practitioner to be called a Specialist, e.g. someone who performs Cosmetic Surgery and corrective & reconstructive Plastic Surgery with high qualification requirements. It also gives these Surgeons rights to apply for hospital operating privileges (meaning general Anaesthesia can be used, in contrast to the “awake” twilight approaches used in back rooms of Clinics). These Surgeons are very safety minded, as are the hospitals that allow surgery to be performed in their theatres. They also follow very stringent sterilisation processes and monitoring processes for patient safety.

But the same is not true of Cosmetic Surgeons who are not FRACS qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeons.

These are some of the groups who offer discounts on breast augmentation surgery because they operate in their own clinics.

In addition to LESS surgical training, another difference between Cosmetic Surgeons and Plastic Surgeons is WHERE and HOW they can operate.  Cosmetic Surgeons often perform “awake” procedures as they are not permitted to perform surgery using general Anaesthesia (that’s usually only available in Hospitals; most Cosmetic Surgeons will NOT be granted operating rights in Hospitals). 

Yet many Cosmetic Surgeons CLAIM to be as highly trained as a Plastic Surgeon.  This is one of many things the Health Minister of New South Wales is highly concerned about. This is typically unlikely to be justifiable for patients who fully examine the extensive surgical training requirements and examinations and monitoring required of a Specialist Plastic Surgeon – and other Specialists with hospital operating privileges – compared to non-Specialists.  They will find that the Cosmetic Surgeons are UNLIKELY to have performed over a decade of advanced, supervised training and numerous examinations to become skilled at what they do. Some may have taken a weekend course, some perhaps a year’s course at best. But few if any would have undergone the extensive training and supervision that a Specialist Surgeon will have undertaken to become FRACS (the highest surgical qualification category in Australia).  You can search to see who’s a qualified, registered Specialist on AHPRA .

According to the Health Minister of New South Wales, The Honorable Bradley Hazzard (Brad Hazzard):

“The safest pair of hands would be a Plastic Surgeon.” 

cheap breast augmentation in back rooms, difference between cosmetic surgeon and plastic surgeon - safety

The Current Affair show on Channel 9 suggested the Health Minister of New South Wales (@BradHazzard) has expressed concerned about what they term ‘cowboy doctors,’ e.g., doctors who are NOT fully trained Plastic Surgeons (or those with little Cosmetic Surgery experience) who perform ‘awake’ breast augmentation surgery OUTSIDE of hospitals. In other words, discount breast augmentation performed in non-monitored Beauty or Cosmetic Clinics using what’s called “Twilight” Anaesthesia or “awake surgery” procedures for breast augmentation (which frequently features in news stories in relation to untoward outcomes).

Current Affair indicated the heads of some of Australia’s highest trained Surgeons, Industry Professionals & Health Agencies are concerned about patient safety and Breast Surgery outcomes. 

The story also featured a comment by Dr Mark Magnusson of ASAPS (who practices in Toowomba), who highlighted the common misunderstandings about “protected medical titles” – such as “Specialist” and “Plastic Surgeon” – and the term “cosmetic surgeon,” which is not a protected title. 

The President of ASAPS, an industry leader in the field of Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery, also commented on the frightening trend of less trained doctors performing Cosmetic Surgery without extensive training, hospital level regulation and health sector monitoring.  

Please check to be sure YOUR Surgeon is a Specialist and has membership in ASAPS, ISAPS, ASPS and/or FRACS to affirm they are a Specialists Plastic, Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgeon. You can also verify their qualifications with AHPRA.

“A Specialist Plastic Surgeon,” as we’ve noted previously, is likely one of the highest trained Surgeons for Cosmetic Procedures you could choose for your Breast Augmentation, Breast Reduction, Facelift, Tummy Tuck or other cosmetic surgery procedure including skin reduction after weight loss.

Find out more by calling our office of Specialist Plastic Surgeons (FRACS qualified & highly skilled) on (03) 8849 1444.

Our Surgeons perform Breast Surgery ONLY in accredited hospitals – not awake surgery that has been in the news of late.

The section on cheap breast augmentation started at 21 minutes into the 3rd October 2017 segment of Channel 9’s Current Affair program with presenter Tracy Grimshaw. 

The Current Affair segment of 3 October 2017 on “Cowboy Cosmetic Surgery” and twilight anaesthesia can be found here:

Please contact us if you would like an evaluation by one of our highly experienced, FRACS qualified Melbourne Specialist Plastic Surgeons – who operate using general Anaesthesia in an accredited, monitored and patient-safety minded hospital setting.

Phone a Patient Care Team member on (03) 8849 1444.