The IDEAL recommendations and urological innovation

World J Urol. 2011 Jun;29(3):331-6. doi: 10.1007/s00345-011-0647-6. Epub 2011 Feb 17.


Purpose: Like other branches of surgery, Urology has encountered major challenges in aligning the research processes by which new interventions are assessed with the principles of Evidence-Based Medicine. This article explains the IDEAL framework and recommendations and illustrates how they might affect the evaluation of current controversial urological procedures.

Methods: From an inside perspective, we provide an overview of the efforts of the IDEAL Working Group to date with special emphasis on the field of Urology.

Results: There are clear differences between drugs and interventions in the natural history of innovations. Since the conventional framework for conducting trials of new treatments is largely based on the former, the evaluation of surgical innovations using the same template can encounter significant problems. Difficulties in performing randomized controlled trials of surgical techniques and the persistence of the case series as an important feature of the scientific literature have been the two most controversial aspects of this mismatch between the subject of research and the methodology used. The IDEAL framework provides a description of the process of innovation and development for surgical trials, and the associated recommendations provide a suggested alternative approach to developing study designs, which are appropriate for the specific problems of new techniques.

Conclusions: IDEAL provides a new framework for surgical innovation that was developed with broad stakeholder input from the surgical community and is expected to have a transformative impact on the way that urologists perform clinical research.

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Medicine / trends*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Quality Control
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Urologic Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Urologic Surgical Procedures / trends*