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Highly biased and misleading: Information on surgical treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia on YouTube

  • Betschart P.,
  • Pratsinis M.,
  • Müllhaupt G.,
  • Rechner R.,
  • Herrmann T. RW.,
  • Gratzke C.,
  • Schmid H-P.,
  • Zumstein V.,
  • Abt D.

Introduction & Objectives

The therapeutic landscape of lower urinary tract symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (LUTS/BPH) substantially evolved during the last years, representing a challenge
for patients seeking for treatment. Since video sharing platforms are used very frequently as sources of patient information, we assessed the quality of videos on surgical treatment of
LUTS/BPH on YouTube.

Materials & Methods

A systematic search for videos on YouTube addressing treatment options of LUTS/BPH was performed in May 2019. Assessed parameters included basic data (e.g., number of views),
grade of misinformation and reporting of conflicts of interest. Quality of content was analyzed using the validated DISCERN questionnaire. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.


A total of 159 videos with median 8,570 views (648 – 2,384,391) were included to the analysis. Only 21 videos (13.2%) were rated to contain no misinformation, 26 (16.4%) were free of
commercial bias, and two (1.3%) disclosed potential conflicts of interest. According to DISCERN, the median overall quality of the videos was low (2 out of 5 points for question 16).
Only four out of the 15 assessed categories (i.e., bipolar and Holmium laser enucleation, transurethral resection and patient based search terms) reached a moderate median overall
quality (3 points).


Most videos about surgical treatment of LUTS/BPH on YouTube have a low quality of content, provide misinformation, are subject to commercial bias and do not report on conflicts of
interest. These findings emphasize the importance of thorough doctor-patient communication and active recommendation of unbiased patient education materials.