What do patients want to know about gender-affirming surgery? Analysis of common patient concerns and online health materials

Annahita R. Fotouhi, Sarah N. Chiang, Abdullah M. Said, Gary B. Skolnick, Alison K. Snyder-Warwick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Patients considering gender-affirming surgery often utilize online health materials to obtain information about procedures. However, the distribution of patient concerns and content of online resources for gender-affirming surgery have not been examined. We aimed to quantify and comprehensively analyze the most searched questions of patients seeking gender-affirming surgery and to examine the quality and readability of associated websites providing the answers. Methods: Questions were extracted from Google using the search phrases “gender-affirming surgery,” “transgender surgery,” “top surgery,” and “bottom surgery.” Questions were categorized by topic and average search volume per month was determined. Websites linked to questions were categorized by type, and quality of the health information was evaluated utilizing the DISCERN instrument (16–80). Readability was assessed with the Flesch Reading Ease Score and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level. Results: Ninety questions and associated websites were analyzed. Common questions were most frequently answered by academic websites (30%). Topics included cost (27%), technical details of surgery (23%), and preoperative considerations (11%). Median (interquartile range) DISCERN score across all website categories was 42 (18). The mean readability was of a 12th-grade level, well above the grade six reading level recommended by the American Medical Association. Conclusions: Online gender-affirming surgery materials are difficult to comprehend and of poor quality. To enhance patient knowledge, informed consent, and shared decision-making, there is a substantial need to create understandable and high-quality online health information for those seeking gender-affirming surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-58
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
Volume85
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2023

Keywords

  • Bottom surgery
  • Gender-affirming surgery
  • Google analytics
  • Top surgery
  • Transgender surgery
  • Trends analysis

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