"The quote is certainly our philosophy, but we have not endorsed this ad or 1-800-BEAUTIFY," says Dr. Garry S. Brody, professor of plastic surgery at USC and president of the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. "I think it comes from one of our educational brochures, which are copyrighted."
Cohen says she stopped running the ad after an official from the surgeons' group requested they not use the quote.
The use of models versus real people in the ads has also sparked debate. Most people who appear in the 1-800-BEAUTIFY campaign are not patients but models, Cohen says. The dentists in 1-800-DENTIST ads are actual members, according to a representative.
Cohen defends the practice of using models, saying that it protects the anonymity of patients. "This is standard advertising practice," she says, "and the public knows and understands this. Do you think people really believe that Jaclyn Smith buys her clothes at Kmart?"
The use of models in ads, says Brody, "is an issue that has come up more than once. According to our [society's] ethics code, advertising should not be deceptive in any way."
While advertising is allowed and regulated by California Business and Professions Code, some doctors and dentists still shy away from it in any form.
But Susan and Brent Hale have only good things to say about 1-800-DENTIST. They joined when they opened their Santa Monica dental practice nine years ago.
"It gives us a continuing source of referrals and it is an ethical way of advertising," she says. "We average 12 or 15 new patients a month from it."
Some of her colleagues now say they wish they had joined earlier. "We know a lot of dentists who are on the waiting list," she says.
McGuire, of St. John's Hospital, says the demand will continue to grow because "the physician community is becoming more desperate, if you will. . . . The pie of patients will be cut up into smaller and smaller pieces."
The prediction is especially true for his specialty, McGuire says. "More doctors are going into 'plastic surgery' as their other work dries up," he says. "We had a thoracic surgeon apply for liposuction privileges."
The request was denied.