Systematic reviews of surgical interventions.
Burton M., Clarke M.
All physicians are familiar with the type of general review articles found in many medical journals. Systematic reviews are different. They apply a strict, scientific methodology to the reviewing process to produce a review that is comprehensive, reliable, and as free from bias as possible. As a result, systematic reviews occupy the highest position in the "levels of evidence" tables associated with the practice of evidence-based health care. Systematic reviews relevant to surgery are no less relevant than systematic reviews in other areas of health care. They should be a prerequisite of any new research, a key component in decision making, and an opportunity for all surgical practitioners to get involved in the conduct and interpretation of research.