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
Once a doctor has completed their training as a surgeon, which
takes around 10 years after medical school graduation, and 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
The 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
- General Surgery: covers a wide area with sub-specialties such
as breast surgery and gastro-intestinal surgery and colorectal
- Neurosurgery: deals with pathology of the brain and spinal
- 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
- 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.
Surgeons are highly qualified specialists and 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
With a proven commitment to lifelong learning and the highest
standards of professionalism, Fellows of RACS offer you and your
family caring, safe and comprehensive surgical care.
Being a FRACS 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 in order to provide high
quality contemporary healthcare to the public.
You can find a FRACS surgeon in Australia and New Zealand by
using the Find a
Surgeon service on our website. Only those 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's 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.