Turkish Neurosurgery 2017 , Vol 27 , Num 5
Low Back Pain and Internet: Infopollution
Yavuz SAMANCI1,Suat Erol CELIK2,
1Istanbul Training and Research Hospital, Neurosurgery Clinic, Istanbul, Turkey
2Okmeydani Training and Research Hospital, Neurosurgery Clinic, Istanbul, Turkey
DOI : 10.5137/1019-5149.JTN.18521-16.1 AIM: An increasing number of patients engage in health information seeking via the internet. We aimed to determine the quality of information on the internet for treatment of three common neurosurgical conditions associated with low back pain using the DISCERN instrument.

MATERIAL and METHODS: The search phrases "lumbar disc herniation (LDH) treatment", "lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) treatment" and "lumbar spondylolisthesis (LSL) treatment" were searched in the Google search engine using the simple searching method. The first 30 websites were evaluated for website authors (healthcare, news, personal, physician, and unidentified), and DISCERN scores using 15 key questions representing a separate quality criterion plus an overall quality rating. Each site was scored independently by two observers.

RESULTS: Of 90 links retrieved, a total of 83 websites were used for analysis. The physician authors were ranked first (39.3%) in the search results. Only 3.6% of the websites had clear aims, and the information was relevant in 6%. Seventy-two (86.7%) websites had no sources of evidence for the information mentioned. The information was completely balanced and unbiased in only 8 (9.6%) websites. Fifty-one (61.5%) websites had no described benefits for any of the treatments and only 2 (2.4%) websites described a risk for each treatment. Only 6 (7.2%) websites were found to be useful and appropriate sources of information about treatment choices. The DISCERN scores were not significantly different between all author groups (p=0.713).

CONCLUSION: The information on the treatment options of LDH, LSS and LSL on the internet is not useful or appropriate regarding treatment choices. Neurosurgeons should be aware of this inconsistency. Keywords : Internet, Lumbar disc herniation, Lumbar spinal stenosis, Lumbar spondylolisthesis, Neurosurgery

Corresponding author : Yavuz SAMANCI, mysamanci@hotmail.com