Cryptorchidism: the veracity of online information accessible to the public.


PURPOSE The objective of this study is to assess the quality of information regarding cryptorchidism using common Internet resources. METHODS Five common search engines were queried with the string "cryptorchidism OR undescended testicle OR undescended testes OR retractile testes OR retractile testicle." The first 30 sites retrieved via each engine were reviewed, and the content veracity of the following components was assessed independently by 2 pediatric urologists: natural history, diagnosis, treatment, complications, and long-term outcome. Components were scored 0 to 2 based on whether topics were addressed and in accordance with accepted practice patterns. RESULTS Of the 124 of 150 links accessible, 84% were oriented toward laypeople. Only 43 (35%) had endorsement by a nonprofit accreditation organization, but 76 (61%) had affiliation with a medical institution/professional. Authors were mostly pediatric urologists/surgeons (36%) or unspecified (48%). Median total scores were only 16 of 44 primarily because of incomplete information rather than misinformation. High scoring components included natural history, surgical options, long-term outcomes for fertility, and malignancy. Components scoring poorly included future sexuality, imaging, hormonal use, and treatment complications. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that only accreditation status was associated with high quality (P = .05). CONCLUSIONS Online information, when available to the public, is generally of good quality. However, many Web sites fail to adequately address all aspects of the condition.

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@article{Braunstein2007CryptorchidismTV, title={Cryptorchidism: the veracity of online information accessible to the public.}, author={J. S. Braunstein and K. Afshar and Andrew E Macneily}, journal={Journal of pediatric surgery}, year={2007}, volume={42 10}, pages={1745-8} }