Our surgical team all support the training and education of new Doctors and Surgeons through their work in the NHS. We sat down with our Medical Director, Mr David Watt, to ask him all about what it takes to become a Consultant Plastic Surgeon.
What is a Consultant?
Consultants are the most senior grade of hospital doctor.
A Consultant is a specialist in a particular area of medicine or surgery, such as Cardiology, Orthopaedics or Plastic Surgery.
It takes between 15 and 18 years of training to become a Consultant Plastic Surgeon…
Why is it called Plastic Surgery?
The word “plastic” in plastic surgery comes from a Greek word meaning ‘reshaping’.
Is Plastic Surgery the same as Cosmetic or Aesthetic surgery?
Plastic surgery includes several fields including Cosmetic (Aesthetic) Surgery.
Plastic surgeons also carry out hand surgery, treat burns, treat some types of cancer and carry out reconstructive surgery after birth defects, accidents or cancer removal.
Cosmetic (aesthetic) surgery is a procedure carried out with the specific goal of improving a patient’s appearance.
Training to become a Plastic Surgeon
After getting high grades in suitable A-levels (or other equivalent qualifications), the first 5 or 6 years of training are at medical school to become a qualified doctor.
All qualified doctors then complete 2 years as a foundation doctor in hospital and general practice to gain broad experience.
After the Foundation years if a doctor decides to become a surgeon he or she will do a minimum of 2 years in Core surgical training and will then apply for training in a particular surgical specialty, Plastic Surgery, for example.
Plastic Surgery is always a very popular career choice amongst newly qualified doctors, and progression through each stage of training is via a competitive national selection process.
If successful, the budding Plastic Surgeon will then complete 6 years in Plastic Surgery Specialty Training, totalling 10 years, as a minimum, following graduation. So the training process, from commencing medical studies at university to finally qualifying as a Consultant Plastic Surgeon, will therefore take a minimum of 15 years.
Each Plastic Surgery Specialty doctor is continually supervised and assessed, with continuation of training going ahead only after a satisfactory annual report.
At the end of the training there is an exam to be passed, leading to a Fellowship in Plastic Surgery of one of the Surgical Royal Colleges (FRCS (Plast)).
Having now attained a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) you are eligible to call yourself a Consultant Plastic Surgeon.
A Consultant Plastic Surgeon will be listed under Plastic Surgery on the specialist register of the General Medical Council (GMC).
A Consultant Plastic Surgeon has to undergo an Annual Appraisal of their practice and a 5 yearly Revalidation process to confirm their fitness to continue to practise.
Almost all qualified Plastic Surgeons in the UK work in the NHS with 70% also working in private hospitals and clinics.
Most qualified Consultant Plastic Surgeons are members of BAPRAS, the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons.
All of the surgeons at our clinic are highly experienced Consultant Plastic Surgeons. They have a range of sub-specialties, including hands and wrists, skin cancer, breast surgery, cranofacial, skin lesions and aesthetic surgery.