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Dig Surg. 2003;20(4):263-9. Epub 2003 May 15.

Perspectives of evidence-based surgery.

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Center for Clinical Studies in Surgery, Department of General, Visceral and Trauma Surgery, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.


The assessment of the optimal treatment option based on best current knowledge is called evidence-based medicine (EBM). Considering the cost explosion in public health systems, EBM should also incorporate proper utilization of the restricted economical resources and should enforce quality assurance in medicine. It is imperative that surgeons realize that randomized controlled trials are applicable to the operative specialties in a large scale, and are necessary to provide evidence-based surgery. So far, only 3.4% of all publications in the leading surgical journals are randomized controlled trials. Furthermore, only 44.1% of the published surgical randomized controlled studies compared different surgical procedures, whereas 55.9% of the articles compared medical therapies in surgical patients. Evidence-based surgical therapy is essential for further development of a high- quality surgical standard, which will also provide quality assurance in future surgical care. This article presents the definition of EBM and discusses specific problems involved in the introduction of its principles into the surgical discipline.

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