Although a myriad of original articles is published annually in plastic surgical journals, assessment of the level of evidence-based medicine has rarely been conducted.
A hand search was conducted identifying randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and controlled clinical trials in 3 plastic surgical journals from 1990–2005. The quality of reporting was assessed and additional parameters investigated including report of statistical significance, type of institution, and country affiliation of the first author.
Of the 9428 original articles that were analyzed, 172 and 139 articles met the inclusion criteria for RCTs and controlled clinical trials, respectively. Fifty-nine RCTs reported on successful double-blinding with only 20 RCTs reporting the allocation concealment appropriately. Description of participant drop-outs was detected in 64 RCTs and a statistically significant result was reported in 118 RCTs. The annual publication of controlled trials has increased over the last 16 years, with the majority of controlled trials being from North-America and Europe.
Execution and publication of controlled trials has increased in the plastic surgical literature. However, the quality of reporting deserves improvement.