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Hospital tweets brain surgery to 14,000 followers

By Karen Keast | Last Updated: 19-11-2013

A Twitter picture from the operation

A hospital in the United States has tweeted live from the operating theatre as a neurosurgeon removed a brain tumour from a 21-year-old woman.

Neurosurgeon Dr Dong Kim performed the operation at the Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas, and his colleague used social media to broadcast the surgery from the theatre on a laptop while a video camera and a photographer captured images of the surgery.

The operation was broadcast with the patient’s consent across Twitter, YouTube, TwitPic, CoverItLive and Pinterest to an estimated 14,000 followers.

It’s not the first time the hospital has tweeted surgery. In February, it tweeted live during a heart operation.

Tweeted comments ranged from: “Scrub nurse told Circulating Nurse what plates were used and how many screws so the implants are

documented” and “we hope to educate the public and demystify brain surgery” to “Dr Kim is starting dissection for the tumor using 2 different instruments”.

Other tweets included: “All light down in operation room now: this is to allow Dr Kim's eyes to dialate (sic) and focus” and “scrub nurse applies sterile gown to Dr Dong Kim while another nurse ties the non-sterile portion”.

The tweets began prior to surgery, progressed through the four-hour operation and continued post-surgery, with doctors also answering questions as students and other followers joined the conversation using #MHbrain @houstonhospital.

Dr Kim, who performs about 400 surgeries a year including craniotomies for tumours and aneurysms, said the idea to use social media was aimed at educating students and also patients about the surgery process.

The tumour was found to be benign and the patient, who wishes to remain anonymous, is “doing well” and has been released from hospital.

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