Body modification through cosmetic surgery is a booming business in Australia. Australians currently spend $1 billion annually on cosmetic surgery procedures and this amount is growing. It is also a very serious business, and only the most highly trained and qualified cosmetic surgeon should ever undertake these surgeries and procedures. 

Right now in Australia, there is a serious and concerning lack of Standardised National Accreditation for Cosmetic Surgery. The result of this is that there are some cosmetic surgery procedures that are carried out by doctors who are not appropriately trained or qualified to do so. This puts patients’ cosmetic results and even their lives at risk.

First and foremost, it’s critical to understand that there is a vast difference between a cosmetic surgeon and a plastic surgeon.

Cosmetic Surgeon vs Plastic Surgeon

Plastic Surgeon practices plastic and reconstructive surgery. It is a surgical speciality dedicated to reconstruction of defects on the face and body which result from congenital disorders (e.g. cleft lip), trauma, burns, or disease (e.g. cancer). It corrects dysfunctional areas of the body and is not generally considered to be elective.

Cosmetic Surgeon treats fully-functional areas to improve their aesthetic appeal. Cosmetic surgery is considered to be elective in nature. It is a unique medical discipline that requires two years of additional specialist training in Australia.

Training for a plastic surgery speciality differs from that for a cosmetic surgery speciality, though there are some doctors who complete both.

Currently, in Australia, there is only one training program that is formally dedicated to cosmetic surgery. Cosmetic surgeons must, following at least ten years of medical training, undertake an additional two years of compulsory training within the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery Fellows cosmetic surgical program. Plastic surgeons, on the other hand, are not required to complete this training. This training deficiency means that plastic surgeons who are not also trained and qualified as cosmetic surgeons (which some voluntarily do in Australia or overseas), should not ever undertake cosmetic surgery procedures. In reality, many do – and even learn on the job by honing their skills on real patients. 

The Issue of Plastic Surgeons Performing Cosmetic Surgery 

Concerningly, some Australian plastic surgeons now seek that regulators ban the title of “cosmetic surgeon”. The reason for this is that it will create a monopoly on cosmetic surgery and protect the already incredibly-high incomes that plastic surgeons achieveIn no way would this change to regulations be in the interests of patients.

There are numerous tragic real-life examples of Australians who have not only received substandard results from cosmetic surgery performed by untrained plastic surgeons but who have even lost their lives as a result. These include:

  • A 26-year-old Victorian woman who lost her life after a plastic surgeon who was untrained in cosmetic surgery performed liposuction.
  • Two women, aged 21 and 22, suffered cardiac arrests during procedures by the plastic surgeon-run The Cosmetic Institute in NSW. The NSW Supreme Court, as a result, approved a class action launch against the Cosmetic Institute by almost one thousand women.

How To Protect Patients?

The solution is simple: establish a Standardised National Accreditation for Cosmetic Surgery in Australia. In doing so, only formally trained and accredited cosmetic surgeons (not plastic surgeons) would be allowed to use the title of “cosmetic surgeon”. It must apply to all doctors who perform these procedures, which is fair to all practitioners and will protect the public like never before. The only doctors who should object to this proposal are plastic surgeons who are untrained as cosmetic surgeons and who seek to protect their incomes and those whose skills are incompetent to meet the standard. 

It is critical that the self-interest of some medical practitioners not be placed above the safety of patients.

Dr Meaghan Heckenberg

Dr Meaghan Heckenberg is a highly qualified cosmetic Liposculpture surgeon who has trained exclusively in liposculpture/ liposuction. She does the same procedure often and by doing this, the highest level of surgical skill is acquired. She is also a trainer in liposculpture for the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery.  She has a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery Degree from the University of NSW and prior to training as a cosmetic surgeon, specialising in the art of liposculpture, she operated a practice with a focus on women’s health and gynaecology.

Choose Be Sculptured

Dr Meaghan Heckenberg specialises in tumescent liposculpture. This is a cosmetic surgery procedure performed under local anaesthetic, and Dr Heckenberg has performed many hundreds of these procedures during her career. She has also had liposculpture procedures herself, so understands the process from the unique perspective of the patient.

Benefit from the extremely high standards of practice carried out at Be Sculptured by booking a consultation with top cosmetic surgeon Dr Meaghan Heckenberg today. Contact our team at

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