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Background: Social media is a popular resource for patients seeking medical information and sharing experiences. Periacetabular osteotomy (PAO) is an accepted treatment for symptomatic acetabular dysplasia with a low published complication profile in specialty centers. Little is known regarding patient reporting of complications on social media following PAO. The purpose of this study was to describe the patient-perceived complications of PAO posted on social media and analyze how additional factors (postoperative timeframe, concomitant surgery) correlate with these complication posts.

Methods: Facebook and Instagram were queried from 02/01/18-02/01/23; Twitter was searched over an extended range back to 02/01/11. Facebook posts (1054) were collected from the two most populated interest groups; "Periacetabular Osteotomy" and "PAO Australia." Instagram posts (1003) and Tweets (502) were found using the same five most popular hashtags: #PAOwarrior, #periacetabularosteotomy, #periacetabularosteotomysurgery, #PAOsurgery, and #PAOrecovery. Posts were assessed for demographic data, perspective, timing (early postoperative or late postoperative), additional surgeries, type of complication, and post engagement.

Results: Facebook posts (1054), Instagram posts (1003), and Tweets (502) were assessed; 13.6% of posts included a complication. The majority of complications were reported > 6 months postoperatively with excessive pain being the most common complication (57.2%), including chronic pain (41.8%), acute pain (6.7%), and nerve pain (8.8%). Bony complications (6.7%), neurologic/psychiatric complications (3.8%), swelling (1.7%), infection (1.4%), other specified complications (16.2%), and unspecified complications (10.2%) were reported. Complication posts were found to be correlated with postoperative timeframe and concomitant surgery. Post engagement decreased in complication-related posts.

Conclusions: Few patients posted a perceived complication associated with PAO surgery. Of those who did, the majority reported unmanageable pain during the late postoperative period. Posts including a perceived complication were found to be positively correlated with postoperative timeframe and negatively correlated with concomitant surgery. This study found a higher pain complication rate, but a lower overall complication rate compared to prior studies. Considering the social media reported complications of PAO patients in addition to traditional outcome measures reveals which aspects of postoperative recovery are most important to patients themselves.


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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Publication Title

BMC Surgery



Academic Level

medical student

Mentor/PI Department




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