Published 7/1/2007

How many ways does this ad violate the SOPs on Advertising?

When Jasper Smith, world-champion bull rider, needed hip replacement surgery, he turned to the world-famous Odd Couple Orthopaedic Practice. Drs. I.M. Neat and U.R. Knott, both board certified in sports medicine and pioneers in minimally invasive hip arthroplasty, got the rodeo star back on his feet—and back in the ring. Just three days after surgery, Smith rode “Bone Crusher” to the championship!

You, too, can have bloodless, painless, minimally invasive hip replacement surgery and resume bull riding, surfing, or other favorite activities in just three days. Turn to Drs. Neat and Knott for results that are 100% satisfactory, 100% of the time! For more information, visit oddcoupleortho.com or call (800) 555-5555.

This advertisement violates the AAOS SOPs on advertising by orthopaedic surgeons in the following ways: 1. It claims that the Odd Couple Orthopaedic Practice is world-famous. 2. It states that the orthopaedic surgeons have board certification that doesn’t exist. 3. It creates unrealistic expectations for recovery—including saying that results are 100% satisfactory. In addition, neither Dr. Neat nor Dr. Knott approved the advertisement, which was prepared by their public relations firm, Great Results Guaranteed & Co.

Do’s and don’ts when advertising
Following these simple do’s and don’ts will help keep you in compliance with the SOPs on Advertising by Orthopaedic Surgeons.

  • Don’t use photos of a patient on whom you did not perform surgery in one of your advertisements without mentioning that fact in the advertisement.
  • Don’t let someone else handle approving the advertisements prepared on your behalf by advertising, public relations, or marketing firms.
  • Don’t say you’re a world-renowned orthopaedic surgeon—if you’re not.
  • Don’t claim that you developed a certain surgical technique—if you didn’t.
  • Don’t promise that any procedure is risk-free.
  • Do make sure your ads comply with local, state, and federal advertising regulations.
  • Do make a reasonable effort to ensure that advertising produced by an academic institution, hospital, or private entity on your behalf is not false or misleading.
  • Don’t advertise your credentials, degrees, or certification levels in a false or misleading way.