Health Service Categories and Careers


Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is a broad surgical specialty involving both cosmetic and reconstructive procedures to improve appearance, form and function. It involves manipulation, repair and reconstruction of the skin, soft tissue and bone and is not restricted to one organ or tissue type. It studies anatomy, surgical techniques, clinical care, pathophysiology and other surgical sciences which relate to this specialty area. Specialised practice includes reconstructive surgery for trauma burns and injuries, and correction of congenital defects such as cleft palates. It includes microsurgery, surgical oncology and other cosmetic or reconstructive surgeries on the hand and upper lip, genitalia, breasts and cranio-maxillofacial structure. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery has a team approach towards patient care and works in consultation with other medical specialties to improve surgical and health outcomes.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Jobs

Plastic Surgeons have a broad scope of practice involving cosmetic and reconstructive surgical procedures and the delivery of specialised medical care. They work in outpatient settings in private clinics and hospitals, as well as in acute settings like the emergency department. They perform a wide range of surgeries which improve function and form and correct bodily abnormalities caused by injury, disease, ageing, birth defects or enhance physical appearances. They often subspecialise in a particular area of Plastic Surgery such as aesthetic surgery, including breast surgery or rhinoplasty, emergency plastic surgery, burn trauma, head and neck cancer, lower limb trauma, microsurgery, hand surgery or craniofacial surgery. They collaborate with other medical specialists to provide quality patient care, and work within multidisciplinary teams to provide integrated and follow-up health services. Plastic Surgeons provide clinical leadership in their area of expertise, train registrars and junior doctors, and contribute to education and research activities. To pursue a career as a Plastic Surgeon, doctors need to complete extensive medical and surgical training which can take 12 years to complete. Surgical registrars (doctors in PGY3 or above) can apply to undertake the Surgical Education and Training Program (SET) in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. This is a 5-year program Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) program which is administered by Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons Inc. (ASPS). It leads to Fellowship and Specialist Registration with Aphra.

Registrars (Surgical Specialty – Plastic/Reconstructive Surgery) are registered doctors who have completed their medical degree and pre-vocational training (internship and residency/PGY2-3). They have attained general registration with AHPRA and can now undertake specialist/or vocational training positions to broaden and refine their scope of practice and gain experience, skills and competency in their chosen area of medicine. Registrars are very important members of the integrated and multi-disciplinary health care team. They have increasing responsibility for patient care, oversee and support junior doctors and staff, participate in professional development activities and continue to receive important guidance, training, and support from senior staff. They work in a range of primary, secondary, tertiary, clinical, laboratory and acute care settings, in hospitals, private practices and community clinics. Registrars who want to pursue a career in general surgery, or a surgical specialty, can undertake advanced training with RACS. Surgical registrars work under general and specialist surgeons and develop procedural skills, surgical techniques, clinical expertise, and valuable work experience in providing specialist.