A substantial global inequality exists between surgical need and the availability of safe, affordable surgical care. Low- and middle-income countries have the greatest burden of untreated surgical disease and addressing this inequity is the goal of the Global Surgery movement. Reconstructive surgery is a fundamental component of Global Surgery as it is central to the appropriate treatment of trauma, burns, wounds, and congenital malformations. The objective of this study was to analyze the most frequently cited articles in the field of global reconstructive surgery to understand the main publication trends.
The 25 most cited articles relating to global reconstructive surgery were identified from all available journals through the Web of Science online database. The following data were extracted from each included article: title, source journal, publication year, total citations, average citations per year, authors, main subject, reconstructive surgery subspecialty, country, and institution of origin.
The average number of citations per article was 21.7 (median, 19; range, 10–40). Most articles originated from the United States, and only 1 originated from a low-income country. The majority of the articles focused on cleft lip and palate (CLP) (72%), with few articles discussing burns or trauma. The main discussion themes were the quality of care provided in low- and middle-income countries both by local and visiting teams, the burden of diseases in relation to global reconstructive surgery, and the impact of surgical interventions economically and on patients.
The number of research articles and citations related to global reconstructive surgery are limited. Despite having a lower incidence than burns or trauma, there is a preponderance of reports focusing on missions treating CLP. These findings suggest that more research funding could be invested in global reconstructive surgery for conditions other than CLP.
From the *Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland; and
†Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto; and
‡Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, St Joseph's Health Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Received September 18, 2018, and accepted for publication, after revision November 4, 2018.
Conflicts of interest and sources of funding: none declared.
Reprints: Leila Kasrai, MD, MPH, FRCSC, Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, St Joseph's Health Centre, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, 30 The Queensway, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6R 1B5. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.