Online Patient Resources for Gender Affirmation Surgery: An Analysis of Readability

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Abstract

Background

Gender affirmation surgery is an important treatment for patient with gender dysphoria. It consists of a series of complex procedures, and well-informed patients have been shown to have better outcomes. However, there are no published data regarding the readability of currently available online patient recourses for gender affirmation surgery. This study aims at identifying the most popular online resources and evaluating the readability of these documents in the context of average literacy within the United States.

Methods

An online search with the terms “gender affirmation surgery,” “gender reassignment surgery,” “top surgery,” and “bottom surgery” was performed. Location, cookies, and user account information was disabled before each search to avoid bias in the results. Readability assessment was performed using the 10 commonly used readability scales.

Results

The overall mean readability level was 13.4. The mean reading level was 14 (range, 7.6–17.0) for the search term “gender affirmation surgery,” 14.2 (range, 11.9–16.7) for the search term “gender reassignment surgery,” 13 (range, 8.9–17.5) for the search term “top surgery,” and 12.6 (range, 7.1–15.0) for the search term “bottom surgery.” There was no statistically significant difference between the search terms.

Conclusions

Our findings demonstrate that the articles most commonly seen by patients who perform an Internet search for information on gender reassignment surgery are more difficult than the recommended readability level.

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