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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 20-21

#Colorectalsurgery: Connecting colorectal surgeons around the world

1 Department of General Surgery, Colorectal Surgery Unit, Mansoura Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt
2 Department of General Surgery, Colorectal Surgery Unit, Mansoura Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt; Department of Surgery, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark, Denmark

Date of Web Publication30-Aug-2018

Correspondence Address:
Sameh Hany Emile
Department of General Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura University Hospitals, Elgomhuoria Street, Mansoura
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1941-8213.240256

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How to cite this article:
Emile SH, Elfeki H. #Colorectalsurgery: Connecting colorectal surgeons around the world. World J Colorectal Surg 2018;7:20-1

How to cite this URL:
Emile SH, Elfeki H. #Colorectalsurgery: Connecting colorectal surgeons around the world. World J Colorectal Surg [serial online] 2018 [cited 2021 Aug 2];7:20-1. Available from: https://www.wjcs.us.com/text.asp?2018/7/1/20/240256

Dear Editor,

Recently, the British Journal of Surgery published an innovative article by Brady et al.[1] which addressed the progress and directions of the Twitter hashtag #colorectalsurgery. As colorectal surgeons, who frequently use the hashtag discussed in the article, we find this publication an important addition to the existing literature of the use of social media in surgery and we have a few comments on it.

According to this report, around 90% of Twitter users who used the hashtag were males. This observation can be due to a possible male predominance in the field of colon and rectal surgery which the authors implied that it “reflects the current background demographics of the senior colorectal workforce.”[2] In a recent report on the relation between gender and specialty choice among the US medical graduates, women were found to be substantially under-represented among residents in surgical specialties including general surgery, neurosurgery, and urology.[3] However, this was considered a typical stereotype and was countered by launching a special hashtag called “#ilooklikeasurgeon.” Another explanation can be insufficient awareness or interest of female colorectal surgeons in the #colorectalsurgery hashtag.

On perusal of the global heat map depicted in Figure 4 which was published by the British Journal of Surgery,[1] one can instantly notice that the vast majority of the hashtag users were based in western, developed countries and to a lesser extent in South America and Asia. There was an obvious paucity in users of the hashtag in Africa and the Middle-East which may be attributed to either socioeconomic factors or simply because residents of this region are less accustomed to the use of Twitter which may be less popular than other social media platforms.[4]

An interesting finding was that around half of the total number of #colorectalsurgery tweets was generated by the top 25 of 1863 users representing <1.5% of the total user number. This phenomenon may indicate that around 98.5% of users are still adapting to the use of this particular hashtag, thus generating far less number of tweets that include the hashtag compared to the top 25 users who had much higher rates of using the hashtag. With the increasing growth and popularity of the hashtag among colorectal and digestive surgeons, it is expected that these rates may change so the majority of users would participate more actively.

Live twitter engagement through the #colorectalsurgery hashtag was remarkably observed in recent colon and rectal surgery scientific conventions. The authors highlighted the importance to balance the dissemination of key findings of the studies presented in the meeting with the need to keep the actual conference attendance vibrant as well as to protect intellectual property. The positive impact of using the hashtag was mainly noted on the experience of the conference attendees; however, we believe that there is an additional positive impact of the hashtag on colorectal surgeons with Twitter accounts who are not attending the conference. The quick dissemination of key results of ongoing and unpublished trials can help keep colorectal surgeons around the world updated and oriented about the innovations, novel findings, and most recent guidelines in colorectal surgery without needing to wait for the formal publication of the trials to read.

As users of the #colorectalsurgery hashtag, we find it a significant connection between colorectal surgeons across the world, removing any physical or geographic barriers. The scientific merit of the hashtag is well demonstrated when one surgeon shares a link to an interesting colorectal surgery publication, linking it with the hashtag. All users of the hashtag can then recognize the hyperlink to that particular article and read it. With more users navigating through the hashtag, a chain reaction of sharing the article among users can ensue, increasing the readability and potential citations of the article exponentially.

Further utility of the hashtag would be in presenting interesting or challenging cases related to colorectal surgery and discussing the optimal method for their management with Twitter followers. Such virtual discussion can start an intellectual debate among Twitter users which, in our perspective, can serve two purposes. First, senior surgeons would share their extended experience with the user who posted the case which may help him/her reaching a better verdict on how to manage the patient. Second, younger generation of colorectal surgeons can gain remarkable benefit by following the expert discussion on Twitter and learning some useful tips and remarks on the management of these conditions with different case scenarios.

#colorectalsurgery is indeed a successful means for engaging those interested in coloproctology as Brady et al. concluded. The hashtag proved that social media, namely Twitter, are able to overcome any barriers and to connect colon and rectal surgeons across the world in one place. Finally, we recommend all of our colleagues who practice or interested in colorectal surgery to use and interact with the #colorectalsurgery hashtag.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Brady RR, Chapman SJ, Atallah S, Chand M, Mayol J, Lacy AM, et al. #colorectalsurgery. Br J Surg 2017;104:1470-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
McDonald JJ, Bisset C, Coleman MG, Speake D, Brady RR. Contemporary use of social media by consultant colorectal surgeons. Colorectal Dis 2015;17:165-71.  Back to cited text no. 2
Jagsi R, Griffith KA, DeCastro RA, Ubel P. Sex, role models, and specialty choices among graduates of US medical schools in 2006-2008. J Am Coll Surg 2014;218:345-52.  Back to cited text no. 3
Social Media usage in Middle East- Statistics and Trends. Available from: https://www.go-gulf.ae/blog/social-media-middle-east. [Last accessed on 2017 Sep 08].  Back to cited text no. 4


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