Advertising in Plastic Surgery

May 20, 2013 | Body | 0 comments

I was on a cruise recently, and I was astonished to see that in addition to the regular spa services offered, passengers could also get Botox, Dysport and several fillers while onboard.  The physician on the ship was advertised as both licensed and board certified, but none of the advertising literature I came across actually mentioned what particular field he was board certified in.  My hope is that he was board certified in Plastic Surgery, Facial Cosmetic Surgery, or something similar, but without an extensive online search of the particular physician by name, I had no way of knowing.

Courtesy of

Now I have no particular issue with offering Botox or fillers on a cruise ship (and if you’re imaging a doctor’s hand holding a syringe coming at your face while you both stand on a moving deck, cruise ships are really very stable).  What I did find interesting was the content of the advertising itself.  Please don’t quote me verbatim, as I’m working from memory, but many of the advertisement made claims such as:

“Look 10 years younger instantly with no down time and no side effects!”

Sound great, right?  Of course it does.  And there is no treatment available today that can offer that, be it laser, injectables, or surgery.  In the United States, the American Board of Plastic Surgery takes a very clear view of advertising by Plastic Surgeons:

“…it does not approve of advertising which leads to unrealistic expectations, which is false or misleading, which minimizes the magnitude and possible risks of surgery, or which solicits patients for operations that they might not otherwise consider.” (Italics are mine)

Thus it was unusual for me to see such… shall we say sensational? advertising.  For this reason, I’m speculating that the physician on board the ship was not a board-certified plastic surgeon.  Or maybe it had something to do with the fact that the ship was based in the Bahamas, not the United States.  But it did serve as a reminder to me that no treatment is without risk, even the routine ones I do daily.  And it’s important for prospective patients to understand both the risks, and the potential benefit before engaging in any cosmetic procedure.  Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.


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