How to Choose the Best Plastic & Cosmetic Surgeon in Sydney, Australia


Plastic surgery is more popular than ever. According to the annual survey conducted by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 11.3 million cosmetic surgical procedures were done worldwide in 2019. With the increasing focus on aesthetics driven by social media and the decreasing stigma around cosmetic surgery, it’s no longer unusual for people of all ages and genders to consider elective procedures.

Rising demand for these procedures fuels an ever-growing number of people offering their services. So how do you choose the best plastic surgeon in Sydney — and, most importantly, the right plastic surgeon for you?

It can feel like an overwhelming process, but it’s a critical decision to make, and it’s in your best interest to be thorough. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you begin your search.

Who Can Give Me a Recommendation or Referral?

Many patients start by asking friends and family for recommendations. You can also ask your primary care doctor and other healthcare providers for referrals.

Personal recommendations are an excellent way to initiate your search but remember they are only the beginning. You must still research each surgeon’s credentials and experience, review images of their work and meet them in a consultation. What is best for someone else may not be best for you, even if the surgeon is properly credentialed and highly skilled.

Where Can I Find Real Patients’ Stories?

Experience matters when you’re considering plastic surgery. That means the surgeon’s experience, of course, but it also means the experiences of their patients.

Reading what other people have to say about a plastic surgeon can provide insight into the surgeon’s approach and personality, as well as how their medical practice operates. Reviews on independent third party platforms can tell you about how trustworthy patients find the surgeon, how much time the doctor spends on consultations, how thoroughly they answer questions, how the staff interacts with patients and what the office environment is like.

Does My Surgeon Have the Right Credentials?

As you research your options, you may come across two similar-sounding titles: cosmetic surgeon and Specialist Plastic Surgeon. Is there a difference? And at the end of the day, does it matter?

Yes, it absolutely does. In Australia, only Specialist Plastic Surgeons have accredited specialist training and specialist registration in plastic and cosmetic surgery through AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency). Some practitioners who are not lawfully registered as specialists in this field give themselves the title ‘cosmetic surgeons.’ This is not an official designation, and though practitioners who use it are legally allowed to perform the same procedures, it is misleading when it comes to the doctor’s credentials and specialist training in cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery.

Is My Surgeon an ASAPS Member?

The Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons has been the peak body for cosmetic surgery in Australia and New Zealand for four decades. The organisation represents 300 comprehensively qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeons who specialise in plastic & cosmetic surgery in the region.

All ASAPS members have eight to 12 years of specialist surgical training beyond their six-year medical degree. Specialist Plastic Surgeons with this level of training are easy to identify because they have FRACS after their name, which indicates that they are a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. You can find out if a surgeon is a member of ASAPS here and a FRACS here.

Is My Surgeon the Right Choice for the Procedure I Want?

Sydney’s best plastic surgeons often perform a range of cosmetic surgeries on a regular basis. Before you make your final choice, enquire about each candidate’s experience with the particular procedure you are interested in. Some surgeons specialise or have advanced expertise in certain procedures, areas of the body or techniques.

Be sure to look at before and after photos to confirm that your surgeon’s aesthetic sensibility aligns with yours. Select a surgeon who has verifiable experience in the procedure you want and a history of producing results you like for patients with features that are similar to yours.

Is Patient Safety a Top Priority?

While aesthetic surgery may seem “less serious” than medically necessary surgery, that is definitively not the case. All surgical procedures are serious, and your surgeon must put your health and safety at the top of their priority list. This requires a surgeon who maintains high standards of ethics and integrity.

When you visit for an initial consultation, your surgeon should perform a thorough physical examination and an extensive review of your medical history. They should be honest about the advantages and limitations of the surgery, the steps of the process and the results you can realistically expect. If they believe it is not the right procedure for you, they should say so.

Do We Have Rapport?

Your surgeon’s skill matters, but so does the quality of your relationship with them. After all, you will spend a significant amount of time together, and you must feel comfortable that they have your best interests at heart. This can be difficult to assess as it is not quantifiable, but it is essential.

As you meet with potential surgeons, consider their communication style and personality. Do they answer your questions readily and thoroughly? Do they use language you easily understand? Are they happy to provide references or before and after photos? Do they show a genuine interest in getting to know you and your goals? Do you trust that they will respect your preferences and decisions? Do your personalities “fit”?

It’s Time to Schedule a Consultation

The pre-surgery consultation process is a vital time for you to ask questions about your surgery and evaluate your surgeon, so you can move forward with confidence in your decisions.

While your search for the best plastic surgeon in Sydney is underway, we invite you to meet with Dr Ellis Choy at his practice in Northbridge or in Coffs Harbour. Dr Choy is a fully qualified, Australia-trained Specialist Plastic Surgeon and a member of both the Australasian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) and the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Please call 02 8962 9388 to request a consultation or enquire online.