Qualitative analysis of sinus surgery posts on popular social media platforms

Am J Otolaryngol. 2022 Mar-Apr;43(2):103388. doi: 10.1016/j.amjoto.2022.103388. Epub 2022 Feb 3.


Introduction: Social media platforms are constantly evolving and expanding to new populations, exposing their users to various topics and serving as an informal educational resource. Medical ideas and topics are freely discussed online, making understanding of what is present on these platforms of particular importance to the practicing medical professional. In the field of otolaryngology, the public social media portrayal of sinus surgery has not been previously reported.

Methods: Social media posts using keywords related to sinus surgery on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok were qualitatively analyzed and categorized based on media type, author, subject, timing, depiction, and popularity.

Results: The total number of posts included in final analysis was 1798, with a majority stemming from Instagram (68.5%), then Facebook (20.2%) and finally TikTok (11.3%). The most common type of media analyzed was images (69.0%) and patients were more often authors of posts (45.1%) as compared to physicians (34.8%). The subjects of the posts were nearly equally reassurance regarding surgery (41.3%) and educational or informational posts (38.8%) and were most commonly timed in the postoperative period (41.3%). Sinus surgery was depicted in a positive fashion most frequently (56.6%), notably compared against the negative portrayal at 3.2%. Negative posts most commonly cited postoperative pain or bleeding.

Conclusions: Most social media posts analyzed in this multi-platform study depicted sinus surgery in a positive fashion. Patients tended to post in the postoperative or perioperative period, whereas physicians tender to post intraoperative educational posts. Negative posts were most commonly centered around postoperative pain. Cautious interpretation of these results could be used for improving patient care and outreach in the digital age.

Keywords: Communications media; Information seeking behavior; Otolaryngologists; Perception; Social media.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Social Media*