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#OrthoTwitter: social media as an educational tool
  1. Muhammad Arham Sahu1,
  2. Zahrah Goolam-Mahomed1,
  3. Simon Fleming2,
  4. Usman Ahmed3
  1. 1 University of Birmingham College of Medical and Dental Sciences, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2 Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, UK
  3. 3 Trauma and Orthopaedics, Princess Royal Hospital NHS Trust, Shrewsbury, UK
  1. Correspondence to Muhammad Arham Sahu, Birmingham Medical School, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK; arhamsahu1{at}


Aims The increased use of social media creates opportunity for new, effective methods of delivering medical and clinical education. Twitter is a popular social media platform where users can post frequent updates and create threads containing related content using hashtags. This study aims to investigate and analyse the type of content relating to orthopaedic surgery that is being posted on the platform of Twitter.

Methods A retrospective search was performed for tweets containing the words ‘orthopaedic surgery’ or ‘orthopedic surgery’ or the use of the hashtag ‘#OrthoTwitter’ between November 2018 to November 2019. A total of 5243 tweets were included.

Results Tweets containing ‘orthopaedic surgery’ or ‘orthopedic surgery’ most frequently contained promotional or marketing content (30% promotional, 21% marketing), and private organisations were the category of author to which the greatest number of tweets belonged (30%). Tweets containing educational or research content were the least common among all tweets containing ‘orthopaedic surgery’ or ‘orthopedic surgery’ (11%). In contrast, of the tweets containing the hashtag ‘#OrthoTwitter’, 44% contained educational or research content, 15% contained promotional content and no tweets containing marketing content. Furthermore, 87% of all tweets using the hashtag ‘#OrthoTwitter’ were from orthopaedic surgeons, and the least number of tweets were from private organisations (2%).

Conclusion Twitter is a widely used social media platform regarding orthopaedic surgery. We propose that the hashtag ‘#OrthoTwitter’ can be used to create an online community of orthopaedic surgeons where members can assist one another through sharing reliable and educational content.

  • Education
  • Orthopaedic
  • Surgery Orthopaedics

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  • Twitter Muhammad Arham Sahu @arham_sahu, Zahrah Goolam-Mahomed @zahrah_gm, Simon Fleming @orthopodreg and Usman Ahmed @orthopaedicoz.

  • Contributors SF and UA conceived the study. MAS, SF and UA developed the methodology. MAS and ZG-M collected and analysed the data. MAS wrote the first draft and all other authors (ZG-M, SF and UA) contributed to subsequent revisions. All authors reviewed and gave their approval of the final draft.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication The study design and conduct was carried out virtually using publicly available information on the Twitter platform. The authors therefore maintain that patient and public involvement was not appropriate in this study.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplemental information.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

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