YouTube: a good source of information on pediatric tonsillectomy?

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2013 Jun;77(6):972-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2013.03.023. Epub 2013 Apr 15.


Objective: To investigate YouTube as a patient information source on pediatric tonsillectomy.

Methods: YouTube was searched on July 31, 2012 for the search terms pediatric tonsillectomy (PT), tonsillectomy (T) and tonsil surgery (TS). Non-English videos were excluded. Two physician reviewers independently assessed the videos for characteristics, usefulness, and information source. Usefulness was assessed according to a checklist developed by the authors. Any discrepancies were resolved by consensuses. Data were analyzed with SPSS software.

Results: One hundred fifty-six videos were included in the analysis. Forty videos were classified as very or moderately useful (25.6%). Sources of the videos were as follows: patient experience, 103 videos (66%); physician, 30 (19%); surgical technique, 14 (9%); and news report, 9 (6%). Physician sourced information was generally at least moderately useful (58%) and patient experience videos were the predominant source of videos categorized as not useful or misleading (50%). Physician sourced information (coefficient=0.61; 95% CI: .21 to 1.00, p=0.003) and PT search term (coefficient=0.26; 95% CI: 0.05 to .47, p=0.017) were the most useful videos after adjusting for mean duration, days online, number of views and page search.

Conclusion: YouTube has a large number of videos on pediatric tonsillectomy with a variety of content ranging from very useful to not useful, and misleading. Health care professionals must recognize the potential influence that these video Web sites may have on patient attitudes.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / methods*
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tonsillectomy / methods*
  • Video Recording*