Systematic Reviews in Surgical Decision Making: Unpacking the Data
The practice of surgery has always involved a process of trying to understand the pathophysiology of surgical conditions and introducing interventions to alter their course. With time, numerous interventions have become available and contemporary surgical practice warrants that surgeons possess skills in utilizing the best available high quality evidence for patient care. Such evidence is afforded by systematic reviews. Utilizing such reviews involves a process of reading and interpretation in which the surgeon attempts to determine whether a sensible clinical question was addressed, the search for relevant literature was exhaustive, assessment of identified studies was reproducible, reported results were properly summarized and whether any recognized benefits are worth the potential risks and costs of the intervention. This process aids the surgeon when making recommendations regarding treatment and it must incorporate patient values and preferences.
Key words: Systematic Reviews, Evidence Based Surgery