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Surgeons Take Out Ads to Explain "Board Certification" in Plastic Surgery

Campaign designed to counteract "unqualified professionals" performing cosmetic procedures in inland Northwest.

Published: April 6, 2011

A group of 10 board-certified plastic surgeons in and around Spokane, Wash., are fighting back against "unqualified professionals" who perform cosmetic procedures with a new advertising campaign aimed at educating the public about the meaning of board certification.

"We are concerned about billboards and other local advertising vehicles that promise the world to potential patients — without explaining that the world into which they were being lured is a mirage," says Carol Hathaway, MD, of Spokane, a board-certified member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in a press release. She and 9 other ASPS members in the inland Northwest have formed an advertising cooperative to combat what they characterize as an "alarming number of unqualified and unscrupulous practitioners who draw in patients by offering deep discounts and over-the-top advertising campaigns."

The ASPS members' 3-month campaign will include TV and print ads and a website — www.inlandnwplasticsurgeons.com — explaining the "6 years of surgical training and rigorous testing" board-certified plastic surgeons complete before they begin performing cosmetic surgeries in accredited medical facilities.

The website has headshots and profiles of the 10 local surgeons and links to the ASPS and American Board of Plastic Surgery. "These other physicians are operating out of their scope of practice," says Dr. Hathaway. "We can't just say "śwe're the plastic surgeons' and expect the public to understand what that means."

When reached by phone, Celeste Winterroth, Dr. Hathaway's office manager, said she did not know how much the surgeons were spending on the ad campaign. She said the TV ads were slated to begin running this week.

Irene Tsikitas


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