UCLA surgeons using Vine, Instagram to video tweet brain surgery


Even as hospitals struggle with keeping patient information secure in the digital world, more and more are finding that some patients are willing to publicly share intimate moments.

UCLA’s Health System became the latest healthcare provider to turn to social media to invite the public into an operating room.

Since 6:24 a.m. Thursday, the @UCLAHealth Twitter account has been using Vine and Instagram to chronicle the implant of a brain pacemaker. The device counteracts Parkinson’s disease, according to UCLA Health’s Facebook page. In one Vine, Dr. Nader Pouratian said it’s the 500th time that the operation has been done at UCLA.


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The event marks yet another achievement for the 5-month-old Vine application, Twitter’s service for posting short videos to the Web. It’s quickly becoming Twitter’s answer to Facebook’s photo-sharing service Instagram. The patient is expected to awake during the surgery and play his guitar, which can be captured with sound on Vine.

Last year, Houston’s Memorial Hermann Northwest Hospital was said to be the first hospital to use Twitter to live-tweet an open heart surgery. Last month, a hospital in England used Vine to video document a hip surgery.

Medical professionals have said using social media to share procedures helps raise awareness about health issues and helps patients stay a little calmer in the operating room.

[Updated 12:10 p.m.] UCLA Health spokeswoman Roxanne Yamaguchi Moster said that the system wanted to draw attention to brain pacemakers.

“Many in the public don’t know about this treatment so UCLA Health System thought this would be a good way to get the word out,” she said in an email. “And yes, this is UCLA Health System’s first live-tweet surgery.”


Watch one of the Vines from UCLA below:


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