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Report on the State of Surgical Video

Summary Findings:

(in alphabetical order) For a full discussion of the methods used in this study, please refer to:


ACS Video Resources (Ciné-Med)

Type of Content: ACS/SAGES/AORN DVDs, CME, promotional content

Specialties Covered: 21 specialties

Users: physicians, nurses, pharmacists, institutions

Volume: star_fullstar_fullstar_nonestar_nonestar_none (~ 200 videos)

Quality: N/A

  • (the quality of these videos is currently undetermined as they are only available in DVD format)

Value: star_fullstar_fullstar_halfstar_nonestar_none

  • Pros:
    • DVD collections recommended by several institutions
    • Wide range of specialties
    • SAGES videos include textual component
  • Cons:
    • Many procedures outdated (filmed in 1990s and 1980's)
    • Many open procedures not represented
    • Average ACS DVD is ~ 10 min in length ($150 for non-members, $75 for members)
    • Unclear peer-review process
    • Significant amount of product-based videos

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) offer surgical videos to be purchased through the medical education company Ciné-Med. Ciné-Med was founded in 1980 as a video-based educational resource for professional healthcare providers. Since then it has expanded to include accredited CME opportunities for physicians, nurses, and pharmacists. Both ACS and SAGES offer individual procedures to be purchased as well as collection of DVDs that apply to a given specialty or field.


ClinicalKey/Procedure Consult

Type of Content: "smart search" engine, Elsevier journals, books, medical and procedural videos, training clips, CME, clinical trials, drug monographs

Specialties Covered: orthopedic, orthopedic trauma, oncology, general, electrosurgery

Users: physicians, medical students, librarians, healthcare executives

Volume: star_fullstar_nonestar_nonestar_nonestar_none (99 videos)

Quality: star_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_none

  • Pros:
    • Didactic narration
    • Training tools
    • Comprehensive outlines
    • Diagnostic images
  • Cons:
    • Some outdated content
    • Mediocre video quality
    • Short videos (typically < 15 minutes)

Value: star_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_none

  • Pros:
    • Used by many medical institutions
    • Excellent search function
    • Videos/articles are didactic/educational
  • Cons:
    • Does not promote recent procedures or actively recruit
    • no peer-review process

Launched in April 2012 as a component of Elsevier’s clinical solutions, ClinicalKey was developed with input from over 2,000 doctors aiming to provide a medical database for physicians, healthcare executives, medical librarians, and students. Notably, it offers unique features such as a presentation maker and mobile apps for smartphones and tablets.

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 2.26.21 PM

Journal of Medical Insight (JoMI)

Type of Content: peer-reviewed, full length surgical videos, written articles, step-by-step outlines

Specialties Covered: 7 specialties, primary focus on orthopedic, orthopedic trauma, and general surgery

Users: physicians, students, patients

Volume: star_fullstar_nonestar_nonestar_nonestar_none (47 videos)

Quality: star_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_full

  • Pros:
    • Consistent high video quality (professional filming/editing)
    • Detailed/didactic narration
    • Rare and common procedures
    • Full-length videos
    • Detailed written articles
    • Comprehensive outlines
    • Diagnostic images
  • Cons:
    • Does not include many specialties

Value: star_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_nonestar_none

  • Pros:
    • Textual components augment video article
    • Actively recruits leading surgeons
    • Bookmarked video outline allows users to efficiently skip between sections
    • Emphasis on innovation and education
    • All content is peer reviewed and professionally edited
  • Cons:
    • Very low volume of articles
    • Few specialties covered

JoMI, a peer-reviewed surgical video journal, produces and publishes high quality videos of surgical procedures, making them available online as an educational resource for medical students, residents, and attending physicians. The articles offer a first person perspective of numerous cases, both common and rare, covering them in comprehensive detail with commentary from accomplished attending surgeons. A full length, written article as well as a detailed step-by-step outline accompanies each video article to enhance its educational value.



Type of Content: disease/drug information, surgical videos, available in Spanish

Specialties Covered: all specialties

Users: 32% patients, 16% healthcare providers, 8% students, 44% divided amongst smaller categories

Volume: star_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_none (~ 900 videos)

Quality: star_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_nonestar_none

  • Pros:
    • Part of the National Institutes of Health
  • Cons:
    • Surgical video is not a primary focus

Value: star_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_nonestar_none

  • Pros:
    • No advertising
    • Does not endorse products
  • Cons:
    • Not a primary resource for the medical community

MedLinePlus was founded in 1999 by the National Library of Medicine as the National Institutes of Health’s site for bringing reliable medical information to patients and their families. It provides detailed articles on 959 diseases, conditions and drugs, 950 of which are available in Spanish as well. In terms of surgical video, MedLinePlus offers a page with well over a hundred direct links to articles on ORLive (see below).



Type of Content: lectures, slideshows, video clips

Specialties Covered: 14 specialties

Users: physicians, medical companies, students, patients

Volume: star_fullstar_fullstar_nonestar_nonestar_none (~ 150 videos)


  • Pros:
    • Excellent variety of videos
    • Different methods for each procedure
    • Live-streaming videos allow users to engage surgeon
  • Cons:
    • Short videos (most < 5 minutes)
    • Inconsistent video quality


  • Pros:
    • Affiliated with over 40 prominent medical institutions who provide educational content
  • Cons:
    • Large branding component from medical technology companies
    • Many promotional videos
    • Authors self-submit short articles as a marketing tool
    • Inconsistent format
    • No peer-review process

ORLive primarily serves as a search engine for surgical videos published on BroadcastMed. BroadcastMed hosts live webcasts of numerous surgeries, with the audience's questions and comments directly relayed to the surgeon via a reporter. ORLive provides access to a wide variety of videos, lectures, and slideshows covering numerous specialties.

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 2.21.02 PM

Surgery Theater

Type of Content: surgical video, photos, audio recordings, Master Series videos

Specialties Covered: all specialties

Users: physicians, students, patients

Volume:star_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_full (> 12,000 videos)


  • Pros:
    • "Master Series Videos" include full length videos with didactic narration
  • Cons:
    • "Master Series Videos" cover very small range of specialties
    • Majority of videos are very poor quality and are short/incomplete
    • Many do not include instructive narration


  • Pros:
    • "Master Series Videos" offer superior educational value
  • Cons:
    • Self-submission format leads to wide variance in quality and educational value
    • Significant amount of promotion videos (advertisements)
    • No peer-review process
    • No quality control
    • No text component

Surgery Theater, an online medical publishing company, was developed with the goal of indexing every type of surgical procedure in order to accelerate the international diffusion of surgical knowledge. This free resource also includes a blog, photo albums, and audio recordings.

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Video Journal of Orthopaedics (VJOrtho)

Type of Content: peer-reviewed video articles, Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS) articles

Specialties Covered: orthopedic, orthopedic trama

Users: physicians, residents, students

Volume:star_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_nonestar_none (~ 170 videos)


  • Pros:
    • Wide range of procedures
    • Professionally edited
    • Select JBJS have excellent educational and academic quality
  • Cons:
    • 50% of procedures submitted before 2005
    • Wide variance in video quality
    • Short video summaries


  • Pros:
    • JBJS articles offer written component
  • Cons:
    • Outdated procedures
    • Inconsistent video and narrative quality
    • No consistent format
    • Incomplete text summaries

The Video Journal of Orthopaedics (VJOrtho) offers professionally edited, peer-reviewed surgical videos in the field of orthopedics, developed with an emphasis on education. A MultiMedia Alliance with the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS) was formed in 2000, in which JBJS linked some of its published, relevant articles to a video synopsis on VJOrtho, performed by the author. Although this alliance was dissolved for unknown reasons, select JBJS articles are still available.

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 12.10.09 PM


Type of Content: lectures, slideshows, video clips, promotional videos, CME, social networking features

Specialties Covered: all specialties

Users: physicians

Volume:star_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_full (> 5,000 videos)


  • Pros:
    • Some videos are good quality with didactic narration
    • Some lectures are instructive/educational
  • Cons:
    • Many videos are extremely poor quality
    • Majority are short summaries or outlines
    • Inconsistent format


  • Pros:
    • Tools for social networking
    • CME credit for AMA PRA
    • Partnered with 38 hospitals and clinics
  • Cons:
    • Videos lack educational value due to poor video/narration quality and short length
    • Very few full-length videos
    • No text components, partnered with 16 surgical brands
    • Significant amount of promotional content
    • Exclusively for physicians

VuMedi, a free resource exclusively for physicians, residents, and fellows, was originally pitched as a “YouTube for surgeons.” To that end, the site has widely succeeded, and it serves as a social network for physicians as well. With features such as polling, private chats, forums, and weekly discussions on published articles, VuMedi excels at promoting discussion within its large international community of over 100,000 physicians.



Type of Content: slideshows, surgical videos, some HD content, CME, Master Classes, available in 6 languages

Specialties Covered: minimally invasive surgery, arthroscopy, laparoscopy, 10 specialties

Users: physicians, students, patients

Volume:star_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_full (> 1,200 videos)


  • Pros:
    • Some videos have didactic narration
    • Some full-length videos
    • European (EACCME) CME credit
    • Master Classes are excellent quality
  • Cons:
    • Wide variance in video quality
    • Inconsistent format, most videos are short
    • Editorial board contributes significant amount of content


  • Pros:
    • Content assessed to meet Health on the Net Foundation (HONCode) standards
    • Master Classes offer significant instructive value
    • 275 HD videos for individual purchase
  • Cons:
    • Excludes all open procedures
    • Many poor quality/short videos
    • Industry support from medical brands

WebSurg, a “virtual surgical university,” is currently the most widely subscribed international e-learning website, with over 323,000 members. This resource offers free access to a tremendous amount of content composed of minimally invasive surgical videos within 10 surgical specialties. WebSurg also offers customized “Master Classes,” available for purchase. These training modules include comprehensive tools such as grand rounds, operating techniques, surgical videos, and lectures on a specific topic within a specialty, a unique and valuable resource for students and residents.

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 2.36.19 PM


Type of Content: surgical video, lectures, slideshows

Specialties Covered: all specialties

Users: physicians, students, patients

Volume:star_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_full (> 100,000 videos)


  • Pros:
    • Wide range of specialties/procedures
    • Some high quality videos
  • Cons:
    • Extreme variance in quality and length


  • Pros:
    • Tremendous volume of procedures freely available
  • Cons:
    • No quality-control
    • Questionable reliability of most videos
    • Significant amount of promotional content

Although YouTube is a free site with an enormous variety of videos, their quality and value cannot be trusted. Most importantly, the lack of any submission requirements makes it difficult to distinguish academically valid videos from outdated or unprofessional ones. This is particularly problematic for those hoping to learn from these videos and thus significantly reduces YouTube’s value to those who could potentially benefit most from surgical video.


JoMI does not endorse or take liability for any of the material published on the external websites that are linked below, including content, advertising, and products. The videos from each of the resources below were evaluated according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) guidelines for peer-review/evaluation of video submissions. If there is a resource you believe we have missed, or if you would like a full description of the methods used, please email us at

Last Updated: July 29, 2015

Maintained by Joe Serino