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Indian J Orthop. 2008 Apr;42(2):144-9. doi: 10.4103/0019-5413.40250.

How good is the orthopaedic literature?

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Department of Surgery, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, McMaster University, Hamilton General Hospital, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


Randomized trials constitute approximately 3% of the orthopaedic literature Concerns regarding quality of the orthopaedic literature stem from a widespread notion that the overall quality of the surgical literature is in need of improvement. Limitations in surgical research arises primarily from two pervasive issues: 1) A reliance on low levels of evidence to advance surgical knowledge, and 2) Poor reporting quality among the high level surgical evidence that is available. The scarcity of randomized trials may be largely attributable to several unique challenges which make them difficult to conduct. We present characteristics of the orthopaedic literature and address the challenges of conducting randomized trials in surgery.


Critical appraisal; evidence-based medicine; quality; randomized trials

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