Key Topics in Surgical Research and Methodology

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This article type requires a presubmission inquiry to the editorial office. These types of Review articles differ by the scope and level of analysis of the literature searches and the titles used.

General surgery

Systematic Reviews require a complete systematic search of the literature using multiple databases, covering many years, and grading of the quality of the cited evidence. Advances in Diagnosis and Treatment also require a complete systematic search of the literature, but only of the last 5 years of published literature. An assessment of quality of the evidence is not required but is recommended. Narrative Reviews do not require a rigorous literature search but should rely on evidence and should be written by established experts in the field.

See below for more detail on each type of Review. Titles for these Reviews should include a concise description of the main topic. Use specific and not overly broad wording for the title; the type of review should be indicated in the subtitle.

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For example:. Behavioral Treatment of Obesity: A Review note: the word "narrative" is not included in the subtitle. Systematic Reviews are critical assessments of the literature and data sources pertaining to clinical topics, emphasizing factors such as cause, diagnosis, prognosis, therapy, or prevention.

Systematic Reviews should address a specific question or issue that is relevant for clinical practice and provide an evidence-based, balanced, patient-oriented review on a focused topic. The basic structure of manuscripts reporting Systematic Reviews should include the following: Abstract structured abstract of no more than words ; Introduction words ; Methods words ; Results words, with the following subsections, if appropriate, depending on the specific question or issue addressed: Pathophysiology, Clinical Presentation, Assessment and Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prognosis ; Discussion words ; and Conclusions sentences.

Prospective authors interested in submitting a review manuscript should prepare a detailed outline of the proposed article. There should also be a brief summary of the extent and quality of the literature supporting the proposed review. Alternatively, if a draft of the manuscript has been completed, this can be sent. Prospective authors should also summarize their publication record in the field.

Send this information to the editorial office via email either to Gerard Doherty, MD gmdoherty bwh. This feature provides a quick structured synopsis of the Review, following 3 key points: Question, Findings, and Meaning. Limit to no more than words. This is different from the Abstract. Question: What are the most effective medical treatments for adult chronic sinusitis? Findings: In this systematic review, symptoms of chronic sinusitis were improved with saline irrigation and topical corticosteroid therapy compared to no therapy.

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Quality of life among breast cancer patients with lymphedema: a systematic review of patient-reported outcome instruments and outcomes. Frequency data should be reported as "No. Pusic, A. Molecular Carcinogenesis. Third, the requirements to cost-effectiveness, resource use, and priority in different health systems require an explicit knowledge on how exactly the health systems requirement influence care on the patient level. Getting the methods right — the foundation of patient-centered outcomes research.

Compared with placebo, 3-week courses of systemic corticosteroids or oral doxycycline were associated with reduced polyp size, and a 3-month course of macrolide antibiotic was associated with improved symptoms in patients without polyps. Meaning: First-line therapy for chronic sinusitis should begin with daily topical intranasal corticosteroid in conjunction with saline irrigation; subsequent therapies should be based on the patient's polyp status and severity of symptoms. A structured abstract is required; Systematic Review articles should include a structured abstract of no more than words using the headings listed below.

Importance: Include 1 or 2 sentences describing the clinical question or issue and its importance in clinical practice or public health. Objective: State the precise primary objective of the review.

Indicate whether the review emphasizes factors such as cause, diagnosis, prognosis, therapy, or prevention and include information about the specific population, intervention, exposure, and tests or outcomes that are being reviewed. Evidence Review: Describe the information sources used, including the search strategies, years searched, and other sources of material, such as subsequent reference searches of retrieved articles. Methods used for inclusion of identified articles and quality assessment should be explained.

Summarize the major findings of the review of the clinical issue or topic in an evidence-based, objective, and balanced fashion, with the highest-quality evidence available receiving the greatest emphasis.


Provide quantitative data. Conclusions and Relevance: The conclusions should clearly answer the questions posed if applicable, be based on available evidence, and emphasize how clinicians should apply current knowledge. Conclusions should be based only on results described in the abstract Findings subsection.

Steps in Research Process: Quickest & Easiest Explanation (UGC NET)

The first 2 to 3 sentences of the Introduction should draw in readers such that they want to continue reading the article and should establish the importance of the Review. Reviews should include the clinical question or issue and its importance for general medical practice, specialty practice, or public health.

Table of contents

The first paragraph should provide a general summary of the clinical problem eg, obesity. The next paragraph should focus on the specific aspect of the clinical problem the article will explore eg, treatments for obesity.


Editors: Athanasiou, Thanos, Debas, H., Darzi, Ara (Eds.) Key Topics in Surgical Research and Methodology represents a comprehensive reference text accessible to the surgeon embarking on an academic career. Surgical Research, Research Methodology, Practical Problems and Solutions. Key Topics in Surgical Research and Methodology represents a comprehensive reference text accessible to the surgeon embarking on an academic career.

The epidemiology of the disease or condition should be briefly summarized and generally should include disease prevalence and incidence. The literature search should be as current as possible, ideally with end dates within a month or two before manuscript submission. This can be facilitated by collaborating with a medical librarian to help with the search. Briefly describe characteristics of the literature searched and included in the review, following the PRISMA reporting guidelines , including the bibliographic databases and other sources searched, search terms used, dates included in the search, date the literature search was conducted, screening process, language limitations, and inclusion and exclusion criteria.

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The rating system used to evaluate the quality of the evidence should be specified see table below and the methods used to evaluate quality should be described, including number of quality raters, how agreement on quality ratings was assessed, and how disagreements on quality ratings were resolved. The highest-quality evidence eg, randomized clinical trials, meta-analyses, systematic reviews, and high-quality prospective cohort studies should receive the greatest emphasis. Clinical practice guidelines ordinarily should not be used as a primary component of the evidence base for the systematic review, although relevant guidelines should be addressed in the Discussion section of the article.

The search methods should be described in sufficient detail so the search can be reproduced based on the information provided in the manuscript. A summary of the methods of the literature search including this information should be included in the main article; details can be included in an online-only supplement.

In addition, a completed PRISMA checklist should be submitted for the items completed that apply to systematic reviews the checklist items that apply to meta-analyses do not need to be completed for systematic reviews without meta-analysis. The checklist will be used during review but will not be published. First, briefly report the results of the literature search, including the number of articles reviewed and included, numbers of various types of studies eg, clinical trials, cohort studies included, and the aggregate numbers of patients included in the reviewed studies.

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Also provide a brief summary of the quality of the evidence. Next, the subsections listed below should generally appear in the Results sections of most Reviews although all of these subsections may not be necessary for some topics, depending on the specific question or issue addressed. The word counts following each subsection are suggested to assist with keeping the overall Results section limited to words.

Pathophysiology words. Provide a brief overview of the pathophysiology of the disease. The intent is to provide readers with sufficient background information about the underpinnings of a disease to provide context for the rest of the article.

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Clinical Presentation words. Briefly describe the clinical characteristics that result in a patient seeking medical care for the condition or what features of the disease should lead a clinician to evaluate or treat it. Assessment and Diagnosis words. Describe the clinical examination for evaluation of the disease and explain the most salient physical examination findings. If laboratory or imaging studies are necessary, provide the sensitivity and specificity and diagnostic accuracy of these tests and consider providing positive and negative likelihood ratios.

Sequences of diagnostic tests are best presented as algorithms or in tables. Treatment words. Treatments should be based on the most recently available and highest level of evidence. Treatment options should be summarized in the text and presented in detail in tables along with an indication of the strength of evidence supporting the individual treatments. In general, treatment recommendations should be supported by a systematic review of the literature, either performed by the author of the Review or published in the form of a high-quality review or guideline.

If possible, the costs for various treatments should be provided. Prognosis words. A section outlining the overall prognosis for the condition, once treated, should be included. Key findings should be summarized in the first paragraph of the Discussion section.

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All statements made should be supported by evidence. It is very important to not simply list findings from the studies reviewed. This information is best presented in tables. The Discussion should provide a critical synthesis of data and information based on the results of the review, an assessment of the quality of studies summarized, and a description of how studies can be interpreted and used to guide clinical practice. The limitations of the evidence and of the review should be discussed, and gaps in evidence should be addressed.

A discussion of controversial or unresolved issues and topics in need of future research also should be included. Clinical Practice Guidelines: In the Discussion section, describe current clinical practice guidelines, relevant to the topic of the review, if available, and whether the conclusions of this review agree with, or disagree with, the current clinical practice guidelines. If this is done and there is more than 1 guideline, a table should be prepared comparing the major features that differ between the guidelines.

Construct tables that summarize the search results.