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Assessment of YouTube as an educational tool in teaching thyroidectomy and parathyroidectomy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 December 2021

K T Chorath
Department of Otorhinolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Philadelphia, USA
N N Luu
Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, USA
J E Douglas
Department of Otorhinolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Philadelphia, USA
C M Yver
Department of Otorhinolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Philadelphia, USA
P G Thakkar
Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, USA
K K Tasche
Department of Otorhinolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA
K Rajasekaran*
Department of Otorhinolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Philadelphia, USA Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA
Author for correspondence: Dr K Rajasekaran, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Pennsylvania, 800 Walnut St, 18th Floor, Philadelphia19107, USA E-mail:



YouTube has become the preferred resource for trainees to learn and prepare for surgical cases. This study evaluated the educational quality of YouTube videos detailing thyroidectomy and parathyroidectomy.


YouTube was systematically searched using 11 terms related to thyroidectomy and parathyroidectomy. Four independent clinical reviewers assessed the videos using Laparoscopic Surgery Video Educational Guidelines as well as modified Laparoscopic Surgery Video Educational Guidelines subgroup tools.


Sixty-five videos were identified and evaluated. Overall Laparoscopic Surgery Video Educational Guidelines score was 8.58 ± 3.85 (mean subgroup score, 5.67 ± 2.40). Twenty-eight of 65, 25 of 65 and 12 of 65 videos were deemed medium, low and high quality, respectively. Inter-rater reliability was good for both attending surgeons and residents. Presence of audio or visual commentary had a positive correlation with total Laparoscopic Surgery Video Educational Guidelines scores (R2=0.38). Videos produced by otolaryngologists and US-based physicians scored higher on total scores compared to non-otolaryngology and non-US based physicians.


Some YouTube videos on thyroidectomy and parathyroidectomy exhibit high educational value. Future efforts should increase the number of high-quality YouTube videos containing both audio and visual commentary or create an online repository of videos for medical students and residents to augment their surgical training.

Main Article
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of J.L.O. (1984) LIMITED.

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Dr K Rajasekaran takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper


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