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J Pediatr Surg. 2001 Aug;36(8):1187-9.

Evaluation of pediatric surgery information on the Internet.

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Section of Pediatric Surgery, The University of Michigan, C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0245, USA.



Increasing numbers of parents use the Internet to obtain information about their child's medical diagnosis. Unfortunately, this information is not screened or regulated. The authors sought to evaluate the information available on the Internet regarding intersex anomalies as a representative pediatric surgical diagnosis.


Six search engines were searched for ambiguous genitalia. The first 30 sites on each search engine were reviewed. Sites were reviewed to identify information that did not conform to accepted recommendations for evaluation and treatment.


Searches for ambiguous genitalia and synonyms found 0 to 44,471 sites per search engine. Of the 300 sites reviewed, only 45 represented 8 unique sites offering medical information. Five of these sites conformed to recommendations in 2 standard pediatric surgery texts, whereas 3 offered misleading information or information that did not conform to text recommendations. Of the total 300 sites, only 5 (1.6%) of accessible pages offered appropriate medical information to parents.


Parent-oriented information regarding intersex anomalies is difficult to find on the Internet. Over one third of sites containing medical information failed to conform to standard pediatric surgical recommendations for treatment. Pediatric surgeons should help parents effectively use Internet information.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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