Social Media in Neurosurgery: A Systematic Review

Nathan A. Shlobin, Steven C. Hoffman, Jeffrey R. Clark, Benjamin S. Hopkins, Kartik Kesavabhotla, Nader S. Dahdaleh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objective: Social media has been used increasingly in neurosurgery by individuals. We aimed to identify demographics and preferences of social media use, describe the scope of social media use, and characterize its utility. Methods: A systematic review was conducted using PubMed, Embase, and Scopus databases. Titles and abstracts from articles identified in the search were read and selected for full-text review. Studies meeting prespecified inclusion criteria were reviewed in full and analyzed for relevant data. Results: Of 431 resultant articles, 29 were included. Patients and caregivers most commonly used Facebook and Twitter, whereas nearly 50% of neurosurgeons used LinkedIn and Doximity. Patient and caregiver users of social media tended to be <35 years old. Content of posts varied from requesting/providing information (∼40%) to seeking emotional support/forming connections (∼30%). A total of 20.6% of videos were irrelevant to clinical neurosurgery. Factual accuracy of most videos was poor to inadequate. Social media use was associated with greater academic impact for neurosurgical departments and journals. Posts with photos and videos and weekend posts generated 1.2-2 times greater engagement. Conclusions: Patients and caregivers who use social media are typically younger than 35 years old and commonly use Facebook or Twitter. Neurosurgeons prefer Doximity and LinkedIn. Social media yields information regarding common symptoms and uncovers novel symptoms. Videos are poor-to-inadequate quality and often irrelevant to clinical neurosurgery. Optimizing social media use will augment the exchange of ideas regarding clinical practice and research and empower patients and caregivers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-50
Number of pages13
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Neurological surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Social media
  • Social network
  • Social networking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Social Media in Neurosurgery: A Systematic Review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this