A Multimetric Readability Analysis of Online Patient Educational Materials for Submental Fat Reduction

Irene A. Chang, Michael W. Wells, David X. Zheng, Kathleen M. Mulligan, Christina Wong, Jeffrey F. Scott, James E. Zins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Patients often utilize the Internet to seek information related to their care. This study assesses the readability of online patient educational materials for submental fat reduction. Methods: Patient educational materials from the 12 most popular websites related to submental fat reduction were downloaded and assessed for readability grade level using 10 unique scales. Results: Analysis of the 12 most popular websites (and corresponding 47 articles) revealed that patient educational materials were written, on average, at an 11th grade reading level. The Flesch Reading Ease score was 48.9 (range 39.8–59.2), representing a “difficult” level of reading. Mean readability grade levels (range 9–13th grade for individual websites) were as follows: Coleman-Liau, 11.1; Flesch-Kincaid, 10.8; FORCAST, 10.8; Fry Graph, 10.1; Gunning Fog, 12.7; New Dale-Chall, 10.1; New Fog Count, 11.8; Simple Measure of Gobbledygook, 11.7; Raygor, 6.7. No website was at the 6th grade reading level for patient educational materials recommended by the American Medical Association and National Institutes of Health. Conclusions: Online patient educational materials for submental fat reduction are written well above the recommended reading level. Recognition of disparities in health literacy is necessary to enable patients to make informed decisions and become active participants in their own care. Level of Evidence V: This journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors www.springer.com/00266

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)712-718
Number of pages7
JournalAesthetic Plastic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Double chin treatment
  • Facial plastic surgery
  • Health information technology
  • Health literacy
  • Patient educational materials
  • Submental fat reduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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