The recent death of Gold Coast woman Eva Sarmonikas, has reignited the concerns and debate over the regulation, or under-regulation of the cosmetic surgery industry. As with any industry where there is rapid growth and technological advancement, the rules and regulations are struggling to keep up. The problem with the cosmetic surgery industry is that it has been this way for many years.

The Medical Board of Australia recently released its proposed guidelines to be introduced into the cosmetic surgery industry in Australia. It includes suggested psychological and psychiatric assessing for teens and clearer detailing on what is involved in the actual procedures and what you are consenting to. It also recommends two different “cooling off” periods for both under aged patients and adults, among other things. The cooling off period for a teen is advised at 3 months; the period for adults is one week.

This attempt at regulation is apparently the 5th in Australia! The previous four attempts (the first over 16 years ago) have yielded little change, and this is what has the experts exasperated; especially considering the vast amounts of money Australians are now spending on cosmetic surgery annually. Despite Australia having a relatively progressive and well-trained cosmetic surgery industry compared to other countries, there are still those practitioners trying to cash in on it. Some of the devices and equipment used in the industry don’t come with any enforced training, and it could be said that the standards of equipment are certainly not monitored to the extent they should be.

Industry experts are also concerned that it is still legal for a graduate fresh out of medical school with no specialised surgical training to label themselves a cosmetic surgeon and operate as such.

The other issue is that patients looking to get cosmetic surgery do not need a referral from their GP – they can simply turn up to the office of a surgeon and book themselves in, and may not have done appropriate research or background checks on that surgeon. This puts them at risk of being in the hands of a doctor with minimal surgical experience and no specialist surgical qualifications, not to mention less than acceptable standards of premises and the other staff in attendance, if any. The reason for a lot of this is that Cosmetic Surgery is not recognised as a specialist area of surgery, so until this happens, change is not likely.

Here at the Plastic Surgery Hub we always say be informed, do your research! Does your doctor have surgical training AND experience? What are their areas of expertise, if any? What qualifications and memberships do they have? Have you spoken to or read reviews from previous patients? Have you had an initial consult to get a feel for their clinic and rooms, and staff they have working at the clinic/surgery? What equipment do they use? Research this equipment. Can they answer all your questions about the procedure you are looking at having and the follow up care that will be provided? Are you aware of any possible side effects and downtime after the surgery? What should you expect after the surgery?

We are lucky in Australia that we have access to some wonderful plastic surgeons, cosmetic surgeons and practitioners. We have many of them listed here on our website.

We believe real patient stories and reviews are some of the most important research you can do. That’s why we make it a part of our website to give you some. You can read some patient reviews here.

To read more about industry concerns read here.

You can also use our “Ask A Question” if you need a question answered. Be sure to add your location if you would like your question answered by a practitioner near you.

And, if after all this, if in doubt, feel free to contact us.


Trish is a plastic surgery blogger. She is passionate about wellbeing, health and beauty, and doesn't mind a little bit of 'help' from the amazing cosmetic and beauty procedures that are available today. Trish spends her days talking to women and men who are looking for suggestions and advice on procedures that are available to them. Cutting through the sales pitch and hype, a down-to-earth response on general information is what you will get.

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