A detailed analysis performed by UK Medical Device Marketing Agency CommuniD reveals an increasing number of orthopaedic surgeons present on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube, gathering huge digital communities comprised of patients, doctors, and other professionals involved in the medical business.
The old days when a patient had to sit passively in the hospital’s waiting room to get advice from an inaccessible, old-fashioned doctor are gone. Surgeons are now proficient not only in their clinical practice but also in digital communication. The phenomenon is a natural result of the increased adoption of social media as a “real-time portfolio” for medical professionals. With a striking 4.9 billion users across the world in 2023, it’s not surprising that the orthopaedic community is turning to Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other platforms to showcase their professional expertise online. They use these platforms to help spread specialist knowledge to the wider public, create awareness about procedures, or expand their professional network.
Dr. Robert Rozbruch is an example of the new generation of medical professionals who have built a massive online community. The NY-based professor of clinical orthopaedic surgery updates his Instagram profile almost daily, sharing photos and videos of successful limb-lengthening procedures and complex reconstruction surgery outcomes with his nearly 15 thousand followers.
Within a few clicks, you can find Professor Munjed Al Muderis, an Australia-based general lower limb surgeon and one of the world leaders in osseointegration procedures for amputees. On his YouTube channel with more than 2.7 million views, Prof. Al Muderis presents multiple cases of osseointegration intervention, complex limb reconstructions, knee replacements, muscle reinnervation, and ligament surgery. Al Muderis also shares fragments of his practice on Facebook, a platform where the doctor has over nine thousand followers.
Dr. Neil Bradbury, a British knee specialist at Wellington Hospital in London and co-founder of the Biological Knee Society, is an expert in robotic-assisted joint replacement of the knee and regenerative surgery. He uses Twitter’s quick and sweet 144-character format to share insights on ligament reconstruction, meniscal transplant, and the latest innovations in non-surgical orthopaedic treatments.
In the professional realm of social media, Dr Russel Bodner, surgeon and sports medicine specialist, uses LinkedIn as an avenue to talk about Arthroscopic Surgery, hip, joint, and knee replacement, commenting on clinical cases and the use of technology to improve orthopaedic practice with his network of over 5000 followers.
In the past, medical information used to lie only in the hands of peer-reviewed or specialist journals, which also controlled the accuracy of the information transmitted and acted as gatekeepers. Although the advent of social media has created a valuable democratic and informal space for medical professionals and patients, such freedom comes with potential risks, especially in the medical environment. Reassuringly, the fact that medical professionals are highly regulated is a strong incentive to keep their claims evidenced and justifiable. However, it is always best to evaluate the authority of the post-writer visualising the clinical and scientific background on databases like PubMed (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov), EMBASE, MEDILINE.