Eleven Spokane, Wash-based members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) have formed an advertising cooperative to educate the public of the risks they are taking by choosing unqualified professionals to perform their cosmetic plastic surgery. Many patients unknowingly have cosmetic surgery performed by unqualified physicians in a non-accredited office facilities, according to a press release from the group.

Unlike any other specialty area of medicine, aesthetic medicine seems to attract many unqualified and unscrupulous practitioners, says the group, and that medical authorities such as state licensing boards do not monitor or restrict specialty practices. This has led to any licensed physician being legally allowed to practice plastic surgery or any other medical specialty regardless of his or her training or experience level.

Board-certified plastic surgeons, on the other hand, have at least 6 years of surgical training, have passed rigorous testing, and operate only in accredited medical facilities.

The eleven local members of the ASPS decided to take matters into their own hands by advertising for the greater good. The result is a three-month TV campaign, print ads, and a Web site to help inform the public.

“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. We are trying to educate the public about the skill level of ABPS – certified plastic surgeons. These other physicians are operating out of their scope of practice. We can’t just say ‘we’re the plastic surgeons and expect the public to understand what that means,”  according to Carol Hathaway, MD.

Local ASPS members participating in this advertising cooperative include Hathaway, Mark Owsley, Patrick Mullen, Lynn Derby, Alfonso Oliva, Edwin Chang, Elizabeth Peterson, Jeffrey Karp, Robert Cooper, Michelle Spring, and Kaiulani Morimoto.

[Source: Inland Northwest Plastic Surgeons]