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Articles


Is your advertising ethical?

Michael C. Edwards, M.D., F.A.C.S.

article courtesy Michael C. Edwards, M.D., F.A.C.S.

CLICK HERE to visit the website of Michael C. Edwards, M.D., F.A.C.S.

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery adopted by membership vote the American Society of Plastic Surgeons Code of Ethics in 1999 to ensure consistency in the ethical standards expected of plastic surgeons. As aesthetic surgeons, we rely on advertising to show the public what services we offer because other than word of mouth, there are few referrals.

Equally important is the fact that we want to be able to set ourselves apart from the ever growing number of “cosmetic” surgeons who seem to have boundless amounts of marketing dollars. Having said this, we do hold ourselves to a higher standard and must abide by our ethical code. By definition the word ethics means the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation; the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group; a guiding philosophy; a consciousness of moral importance; or a set of moral issues or aspects. It really boils down to doing what is right.

The ASAPS membership committee has found an increasing incidence of infractions in web-based advertising leading to a denial of membership. Examples of these problem areas include making claims about your background and training, ability to provide something that no one else in your area can provide or being the proverbial “best facelift surgeon in Anywhere, USA.” If you choose to make such a statement, you should be prepared to have supporting evidence. Other concerns are using photos of models representing an outcome that is simply not attainable. I’m sure you’ve all seen ads run by local competition claiming to take years off of a patient’s face over a lunchtime treatment with minimal downtime.

This table is the advertising section of the ASPS/ASAPS Code of Ethics available on line at www.plasticsurgery.org. You are encouraged to review this carefully and if you have questions you should contact ASAPS at 1.800.364.2147 or info@surgery. org for guidance.


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