Specialist Surgeons - Learn How to Become a Specialist Surgeon
Surgeons are doctors who have completed further training in a surgical specialty, recognised by the regulatory authorities of Australian Medical Council (AMC), Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ), and the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Agency (AHPRA).
Once a doctor has completed their training as a surgeon, which includes exams, continual in-training assessment and courses, they sit the specialist Fellowship exam. On passing the exam and assessment of clinical experience, they are admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS) and can use the post nominal 'FRACS'. This allows them to be recognised by AHPRA as a specialist surgeon in Australia, and to be eligible for vocational registration in their surgical speciality with the MCNZ in New Zealand.
Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) Fellows are often also members of an association or society specific to their specialty area of surgery.
There are nine surgical specialties:
- Cardiothoracic Surgery: focuses on the heart, chest and lungs.
- General Surgery: covers a wide area with sub-specialties such as breast surgery and gastro-intestinal surgery and colorectal surgery.
- Neurosurgery: deals with pathology of the brain and spinal cord.
- Orthopaedic Surgery: involves diagnosis, treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of injuries, disorders and diseases of the body's bones and muscles.
- Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery: ear, nose and throat surgery, often referred to as ENT.
- Paediatric Surgery: encompasses all aspects of children's surgery.
- Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: deals with reconstructive and reshaping surgery and burns in all parts of the body.
- Urology: deals with treatment of diseases in the urinary tract, including the bladder, kidneys and prostate.
- Vascular Surgery: focuses on maintaining or restoring blood flow via arteries and veins all over the body.
RACS surgeons are highly qualified specialists who stay up-to-date with the latest developments in their area of skill. They have considerable knowledge and provide the best possible care to their patients.
With a proven commitment to lifelong learning and the highest standards of professionalism, RACS Fellows offer you and your family caring, safe and comprehensive surgical care.
Being a RACS surgeon requires ongoing learning and maintenance of knowledge and skills demonstrated through Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programs ensuring that Fellows not only maintain competency but also continuously build on and improve their clinical knowledge and skills to provide high quality contemporary healthcare.
You can find a RACS surgeon in Australia and New Zealand by using the Find a Surgeon service on our website. Only surgeons who hold FRACS and participate in a recognised CPD program are eligible for registration on Find a Surgeon. This is an opt-in service so not all surgeons are listed.
You can also find a health practitioner in Australia using the AHPRA register of practitioners, or in New Zealand, the MCNZ list of registered doctors. These will provide details of their registration, specialist/vocational recognition and any conditions or restrictions on their practice. We also recommend that you seek the advice of your family doctor, who will need to refer you to the specialist surgeon.
Need more information or have questions? Read our frequently asked questions.