Social Media Posts Pertaining to Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) Surgery: A Cross-sectional Analysis of Patient and Surgeon Perceptions

Peter R. Swiatek, Anastasios G. Roumeliotis*, Joseph A. Weiner, Ashvita Ramesh, Daniel J. Johnson, Erik B. Gerlach, Srikanth N. Divi, Wellington K. Hsu, Alpesh A. Patel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Design: Cross-sectional study. Objective: To analyze publicly available content on a major social media outlet related to anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) surgery based on perspective, location, timing, content, tone, and patient satisfaction. Summary of Background Data: Social media offers a powerful platform for sharing the patient experience with the public through an unfiltered perspective. Social media content may influence future perceptions around surgical care and postings around ACDF have not been previously reported. Methods: A query of content from a major social media outlet was performed for the study period January 1, 2018, to January 1, 2020, and returned 6500 publicly available posts. Content was identified by the hashtags "#acdf" or "#acdfsurgery." Content was ranked by number of "likes." Of the 1500 most popular posts, 1136 related to ACDF surgery and were included. Post content was characterized and classified. Results: Patients created 85% of ACDF-related content and spine surgeons created 11.8%. Most posts portrayed the patient experience in the postoperative period and depicted patients performing activities of daily living, participating in sports, or completing work activities (54.4%). The connotation of posts was deemed to be positive in 79.2% of cases. In regard to their care or state of health as it related to ACDF surgery, 59.8% of patients expressed satisfaction, whereas 14.1% expressed dissatisfaction. Female patients were >4 times as likely to express dissatisfaction (odds ratio=4.16, P=<0.0001), with their clinical course compared with their male counterparts. Conclusions: Patients were the source of most posts on a major social media outlet that pertained to ACDF surgery with a majority reporting positive tone and satisfaction. These mechanisms of communication offer surgeons unique insights into patient experience and may provide an opportunity for surgeons to assess patient feedback, influence patient perceptions, and enhance delivery of cervical spine care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E167-E173
JournalClinical spine surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 1 2023


  • ACDF
  • Instagram
  • cervical spine
  • neurological surgery
  • orthopedic surgery
  • patient outcomes
  • social media
  • spine fusion
  • spine surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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