Social Media as a Tool for Patient Education in Neurosurgery: An Overview

Nathan A. Shlobin*, Saarang Patel, Nader S. Dahdaleh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Social media is becoming increasingly prominent in neurosurgery. However, the specifics of using social media as a tool for patient education have not yet been synthesized. In this narrative review, we provide an overview of opportunities, challenges, and best practices in the use of social media for patient education in neurosurgery. Our findings may guide neurosurgeons, departments, and institutions in developing effective patient education practices using social media. Methods: We conducted a narrative review and provide our perspective on the use of social media for patient education. Results: Social media is useful for patient education in neurosurgery due to its ability to increase knowledge, streamline patient-neurosurgeon communication in clinic, and empower patients and caregivers. However, challenges of usability, content accuracy, professionalism, privacy and confidentiality, and time must be addressed in order for social media to be used optimally. Social media may be incorporated into patient education as part of general or targeted multimodal educational interventions or as a medium to deliver electronic content. Best practices include creating content written at an appropriate reading level, including visual aids, having comprehensive and unbiased videos, incorporating interactive opportunities, and tailoring content based on purpose and target population. Conclusions: Social media can be a transformative force for patient education in neurosurgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-134
Number of pages8
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - May 2022


  • Health literacy
  • Patient education
  • Patient education materials
  • Readability
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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