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Plastic Surgeon
Plastic surgeons shape and mould regions of the body, such as the ears, face, trunk, hands and other extremities, for cosmetic and functional effect. They also repair congenital problems, such as cleft palates or malformed bone structure in hands or feet.

Cosmetic surgery reshapes normal body parts for aesthetic reasons, while reconstructive surgery repairs or replaces body parts damaged by accidents, illness or malformation.

Plastic surgeons are medical doctors trained in patient interactions, trauma care and basic surgery techniques as well as in specialised techniques such as tissue transfer, body contouring and laser surgery.

Within the medical speciality field of plastic surgery there are many subspecialities:
- Hand surgery
- Craniofacial surgery
- Cutaneous malignancy surgery
- Aesthetic surgery
- Breast reconstruction

While most plastic surgeons choose a speciality, all certified surgeons are trained in congenital problems with the head, neck and trunk, burn management, fluid replacement, breast surgery and other basic skills.

Plastic surgeons work in hospitals and operate in sterile surgical units. They spend time travelling between their consulting rooms and hospitals to visit their patients and follow up on post-operation procedures. Plastic surgeons must be on their feet for long periods when performing surgery, which can take hours, depending on the particular procedure.

For those willing to endure the many years of training necessary to qualify, career prospects are bright; demand for medical care continues to grow and more patients than ever are wanting to have or needing, plastic surgery.

Satisfying Aspects
- good working conditions
- relatively high income
- prestige associated with the profession
- satisfaction of helping others to get well or feel happier about their appearance

Demanding aspects
- particularly long and expensive training
- physical stamina required to work long hours- keeping abreast of new developments

A plastic surgeon should:
- have above average intelligence and an aptitude for science
- be able to work accurately and precisely
- able to make critical decisions, often concerning matters of life and death, quickly and confidently
- be responsible and sympathetic
- be willing to study to keep up with medical advances
- have good eye-hand coordination
- have manual dexterity and a very steady hand
- have good vision

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences
Recommended Subjects: Life Sciences

Note: Competition to enter medical studies is stiff and there are usually many applicants with excellent grades who would naturally be given preference.

MBChB degree
- Theoretical training: 6 years.
- Student internship: 1 year.
- Practical work at a hospital: 1 year (also known as the house doctor year).

Postgraduate study for specialisation as a plastic surgeon at e.g. UFS, UP, US, UL, Wits:
MMed or FCP(SA): 4 years

Additional Requirements: before commencing post-graduate study for specialisation as a surgeon the candidate must:

- be in possession of a MBChB degree for 2 years;
- be registered as a medical doctor with the Interim Medical and Dental Council (IMDC) of South Africa for 1 year.

Registration: On successful completion of the examination to qualify as a specialist, the candidate must register with the IMDC as a surgeon.

- clinics and hospitals
- private practice

Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons of Southern Africa
Tel: (011) 726-3635 Fax: (011) 726-5164