Systematic reviews attempt to answer research questions by synthesizing the data in primary articles. They are an increasingly important tool within evidence-based medicine, guiding clinical practice, future research, and health care policy.
To determine the reporting quality of recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses in plastic surgery with the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) statement.
MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched for systematic reviews published between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2014, in 5 major plastic surgery journals. Screening, identification, and data extraction were performed independently by 2 teams. Articles were reviewed for compliance with reporting of 27 items in the PRISMA checklist. Data analysis was conducted from January 1 to July 30, 2015.
Main Outcomes and Measures
The sum of PRISMA checklist items (1-27) per systematic review.
From an initial set of 163 articles, 79 met the inclusion criteria. The median PRISMA score was 16 of 27 items (59%) (range, 6%-26%; 95% CI, 14%-17%). Compliance varied between individual PRISMA items. It was poorest for items related to the use of review protocol (item 5; 4 articles [5%]) and presentation of data on the risk of bias of each study (item 19; 14 articles [18%]). Compliance was the highest for description of rationale (item 3; 78 articles [99%]), sources of funding and other support (item 27; 75 articles [95%]), and inclusion of a structured summary in the abstract (item 2; 75 articles [95%]).
Conclusions and Relevance
The reporting quality of systematic reviews in plastic surgery requires improvement. Enforcement of compliance through journal submission systems, as well as improved education, awareness, and a cohesive strategy among all stakeholders, is called for.
Level of Evidence