Educational value of surgical videos on YouTube: quality assessment of laparoscopic appendectomy videos by senior surgeons vs. novice trainees

World J Emerg Surg. 2019 May 9;14:22. doi: 10.1186/s13017-019-0241-6. eCollection 2019.


Background: To prepare for surgery, surgeons often recur to surgical videos, with YouTube being reported as the preferred source. This study aimed to compare the evaluation of three surgical trainees and three senior surgeons of the 25 most viewed laparoscopic appendectomy videos listed on YouTube. Additionally, we assessed the video conformity to the published guidelines on how to report laparoscopic surgery videos (LAP-VEGaS).

Methods: Based on the number of visualization, the 25 most viewed videos on laparoscopic appendectomy uploaded on YouTube between 2010 and 2018 were selected. Videos were evaluated on the surgical technical performance (GOALS score), critical view of safety (CVS), and overall video quality and utility.

Results: Video image quality was poor for nine (36%) videos, good for nine (36%), and in high definition for seven (28%). Educational content (e.g., audio or written commentary) was rarely present. With the exception of the overall level of difficulty, poor consistency was observed for the GOALS domains between senior surgeons and trainees. Fifteen videos (60%) demonstrated a satisfactory CVS score (≥ 5). Concerning the overall video quality, agreement among senior surgeons was higher (Cronbach's alpha 0.897) than among trainees (Cronbach's alpha 0.731). The mean overall videos utility (Likert scale, 1 to 5) was 1.92 (SD 0.88) for senior examiners, and 3.24 (SD 1.02) for trainee examiners. The conformity to the LAP-VEGaS guidelines was weak, with a median value of 8.1% (range 5.4-18.9%).

Conclusion: Laparoscopic videos represent a useful and appropriate educational tool but they are not sufficiently reviewed to obtained standard quality. A global effort should be made to improve the educational value of the uploaded surgical videos, starting from the application of the nowadays-available LAP-VEGaS guidelines.

Keywords: Educational videos; Laparoscopic appendectomy; Resident surgeons; Surgical training; YouTube.

MeSH terms

  • Appendectomy / methods*
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Education / standards
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Laparoscopy / methods
  • Social Media / instrumentation
  • Social Media / standards*
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / methods
  • Video Recording / methods