Engagement, education & marketing: 5 spine surgeons discuss social media in spine


Five spine and neurosurgeons share their experiences with social media and the impact it has on their practice.

Ask Spine Surgeons is a weekly series of questions posed to spine surgeons around the country about clinical, business and policy issues affecting spine care. We invite all spine surgeon and specialist responses.

Next week's question: What are the most promising developments in minimally invasive treatments for spinal disorders?

Please send responses to Alan Condon at acondon@beckershealthcare.com by Wednesday, Dec. 11, 5 p.m. CST.

Note: The following responses were edited for length and clarity.

Question: Social media is becoming increasingly popular among physicians. Do you use social media professionally? If so, what are the impacts you have noticed?

Issada Thongtrangan, MD. Microspine (Phoenix): I use social media to educate patients on spinal disorders and how to prevent it. Recently I learned how to use the platform for more engagement with the patients and how to ensure they are compliant with postop protocols. I am looking forward to trying social media with webinars in the future.

Scott Russo, MD. Orthopaedic Associates of Michigan (Grand Rapids): I do, but more for connectivity and less for marketing my practice. Both are a good idea. 

Brian R. Gantwerker, MD. Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles: I do. I find it mildly impactful. I prefer to showcase my family to be honest. But I think it is helpful to some people, and I look at it as a resource to patients. I am hesitant to use it as a marketing tool. If patients want to come see you, they will check your profile and reviews, and less likely your social media. If you would like to be a "rock doc" or a go-to guru, social media is your best bet.  

James Chappuis, MD. Spine Center Atlanta: Yes, my practice has used social media for approximately three to four years. It helps us connect directly with our patients both in the metropolitan Atlanta area and throughout the U.S. It also allows our patients to see the more human side of our practice with posted content on not just surgeries and surgical outcomes, but also our employees and their accomplishments.

Vladimir Sinkov, MD. Sinkov Spine Center (Las Vegas): I have a professional Facebook account where I get to communicate with my patients about the latest news regarding my practice. I also have a profile on LinkedIn, which is very convenient to communicate with other professionals around the world and share ideas and experiences in spine surgery and the field of medicine in general.

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