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26 Feb 2024

Social Media and Surgery: What Dr Karan Rajan had to say at Future Surgery

Social Media and Surgery: What Dr Karan Rajan had to say at Future Surgery

Social Media and Surgery: Dr Karan Rajan’s challenge to Future Surgery attendees

“Doctors shouldn’t be on social media.”

“Surgeons definitely shouldn’t be online.”

“Social media is for kids – it’s just entertainment and funny videos.”

According to Dr Karan Rajan (NHS Surgeon, clinical lecturer at The University of Sunderland Medical School, youtuber, TikTok Sensation and recent #1 Sunday Times bestseller), this thinking plagues medicine:

“It holds back change and progress. Will some doctors use social media for nefarious purposes? Sure. But does it have the power to transform healthcare on an epidemiological level and act as an adjunct to public health services?”

How Can Social Media Transform Healthcare? This was the question posed by Dr Karan Rajan to Future Surgery last November. Having risen to online stardom on TikTok and YouTube, Dr Rajan shared his insights with attendees on the growing importance of social media in surgery and the wider healthcare system in promoting a more accessible system with engaged patients.

A member of the Royal College of Surgeons England, Dr Rajan works by day as a surgeon and a clinical lecturer at The University of Sunderland Medical School. By night however, he takes to social media engaging with his 1M Instagram followers, 2.1M YouTube subscribers and 5.2M TikTok followers.

Between medical duties, teaching, social media, and writing his recent book, he dedicates his time to trying to drive change in the sector and challenge what the future of medicine and surgery looks like. He believes that social media is already and will be increasingly more central in dispelling medical misinformation, engaging patients, and promoting best practices.


On stage he shared personal stories of fans who had reached out to thank him for his videos, saying that his informative and entertaining posts gave them confidence to pursue medical help and engage in their treatment plans. While Dr Rajan urged the importance of measured and responsible use, through these fan messages and a statistical analysis of his follower basis, he highlighted the ability of social media to engage patients (particularly those aged under 40) in their health. This form of engagement can lead to earlier diagnosis, patient initiated follow-up, educated pre-operative engagement, effective rehabilitation, and overall improved patient outcomes.

Reflecting on his excitement for the future of surgery and medicine, Dr Rajan has said, “It’s not AI. It’s not advances in diagnostics. It’s not Robots. Its culture.”

“Right now there’s a significant proportion of junior trainees and medical students who have a social media following. When these social media medics become consultants, attendings and lead decision makers…the archaic institutionalism present in medicine globally will begin to melt away…”

“Social media activity as a medic is often looked upon condescendingly. It’s actually a route to being more relatable, approachable and a better communicator.”

By exploring how to effectively bridge the gap between traditional healthcare practices and the digital age, Dr. Karan Rajan's challenge to the traditional notion of surgeons staying away from social media re-examines how we perceive the role of digital platforms in healthcare. By leveraging his online presence and engaging with millions of followers, he exemplifies how social media can serve as a powerful tool for disseminating accurate medical information, debunking myths, and empowering patients to take charge of their health. His success story highlights the vital role that social media influencers in the medical field can play in fostering a culture of transparency, accessibility, and patient-centred care.

Dr. Rajan's message resonates deeply with the mission of Future Surgery—to embrace innovation, challenge conventions, and pave the way for a brighter and more progressive future in the field of surgery.

To learn more about the varied discussions around the future of surgery we host, take a look at our 2023 event programme here.

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