Pediatric surgery on YouTube™: is the truth out there?

J Pediatr Surg. 2014 Apr;49(4):586-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2013.08.004.


Background/purpose: In 2000, we described the variability of pediatric surgical information on the Internet. Since then, online videos have become an increasingly popular medium for education and personal expression. The purpose of this study was to examine the content and quality of videos related to pediatric surgical diagnoses on the Internet.

Methods: YouTube™ was searched for videos on gastroschisis, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, pediatric inguinal hernia, and pectus excavatum. The first 40 English language videos for each diagnosis were reviewed for owner and audience characteristics, content and quality.

Results: A small majority of videos were made by medical professionals (50.63%, vs. 41.25% by lay persons and 8.13% by fundraising organizations). Eighty percent of videos were intended for a lay audience. Videos by medical professionals were more accurate and complete than those posted by lay persons.

Conclusions: The YouTube™ videos varied significantly in content and quality. Videos by lay persons often focused on the emotional aspect of the diagnosis and clinical course. Videos by members of the medical profession tended to be more complete and accurate. These findings underscore the continued need for high quality pediatric surgical information on the Internet for patients and their families.

Keywords: Internet; Pediatric surgery; YouTube™.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Consumer Health Information / methods*
  • Consumer Health Information / standards
  • Consumer Health Information / statistics & numerical data
  • Funnel Chest / surgery
  • Gastroschisis / surgery
  • Hernia, Inguinal / surgery
  • Hernias, Diaphragmatic, Congenital / surgery
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / methods*
  • Internet*
  • Pediatrics / methods*
  • Pediatrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Video Recording* / standards
  • Video Recording* / statistics & numerical data