An analysis of websites, accessible to the public, was conducted pertaining to the lumbar artificial disc replacement
The objective was to investigate the content of information available on the Internet
pertaining to the lumbar artificial disc replacement
Summary of Background Data
is widely used by patients as an educational tool for health care information. Additionally, the Internet
is used as a medium for direct-to-consumer marketing. Recent approval of the lumbar artificial disc replacement
has led to the emergence of numerous websites offering information about this procedure. It is thought that patients can be influenced by information found on the Internet
; therefore, it is imperative that this information be accurate and as complete as possible.
Three commonly used search engines were used to locate 105 (35/search engine) websites providing information about the lumbar artificial disc replacement
. Each website was evaluated with regard to authorship and content.
Fifty-nine percent of the websites reviewed were authorized by a private physician group, 9% by an academic physician group, 6% by industry, 11% were news reports, and 15% were not otherwise categorized. Seventy-two percent offered a mechanism for direct contact and 30% provided clear patient selection criteria. Benefits were expressed in 87% of websites, whereas associated risks were described in 28% or less. European experiences were noted in 53%, whereas only 22% of websites detailed the current US experience.
The results of this study demonstrate that much of the content of Internet
-derived information pertaining to the lumbar artificial disc replacement
is potentially misleading. Until long-term data are available, patients should be cautioned when using the Internet
as a source for health care information, particularly with regard to the lumbar artificial disc replacement