The quality of information about laparoscopic bariatric surgery on the Internet

Surg Endosc. 2003 May;17(5):685-7. doi: 10.1007/s00464-002-8610-7. Epub 2003 Mar 7.


Background: Although easy access to the Internet can provide much information for patients, the quality and accuracy of information are uncertain. This investigation evaluated information concerning laparoscopic bariatric surgery available via the Internet.

Methods: Searches on the six most popular search engines and two metasearch engines were performed. The first 20 "hits" for each separate search were included in the study.

Results: A total of 602 "hits" were found. Only 119 unique Web sites were found. Although 63 of the 119 sites discussed some procedure related to laparoscopic obesity surgery, 18 of the 63 had biased or misleading information, 30 did not discuss the details of the procedure, 37 did not discuss other procedures, 30 did not discuss complications, 37 did not discuss death as a risk, and 7 did not discuss laparoscopic procedure as an option. Only 89 of the original 602 "hits" led to Web sites that discussed laparoscopic obesity surgery, details of the procedure, and complications in an unbiased manner.

Conclusions: A large amount of information is available via the Internet. However, it is difficult for the patient to identify the unbiased information. The Internet is not a dependable source of information for patients.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Information Services* / standards
  • Information Services* / statistics & numerical data
  • Internet* / standards
  • Internet* / statistics & numerical data
  • Laparoscopy / methods*
  • Laparoscopy / standards
  • Laparoscopy / statistics & numerical data
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery*
  • Patient Education as Topic / standards
  • Patient Education as Topic / trends
  • Quality of Health Care* / statistics & numerical data