Randomised trial support for orthopaedic surgical procedures

PLoS One. 2014 Jun 13;9(6):e96745. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0096745. eCollection 2014.

Abstract

We investigated the proportion of orthopaedic procedures supported by evidence from randomised controlled trials comparing operative procedures to a non-operative alternative. Orthopaedic procedures conducted in 2009, 2010 and 2011 across three metropolitan teaching hospitals were identified, grouped and ranked according to frequency. Searches of the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) and the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE) were performed to identify RCTs evaluating the most commonly performed orthopaedic procedures. Included studies were categorised as "supportive" or "not supportive" of operative treatment. A risk of bias analysis was conducted for included studies using the Cochrane Collaboration's Risk of Bias tool. A total of 9,392 orthopaedic procedures were performed across the index period. 94.6% (8886 procedures) of the total volume, representing the 32 most common operative procedure categories, were used for this analysis. Of the 83 included RCTs, 22.9% (19/83) were classified as supportive of operative intervention. 36.9% (3279/8886) of the total volume of procedures performed were supported by at least one RCT showing surgery to be superior to a non-operative alternative. 19.6% (1743/8886) of the total volume of procedures performed were supported by at least one low risk of bias RCT showing surgery to be superior to a non-operative alternative. The level of RCT support for common orthopaedic procedures compares unfavourably with other fields of medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Bias
  • Databases, Factual
  • Humans
  • Orthopedic Procedures / classification*
  • Orthopedic Procedures / statistics & numerical data
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic

Grant support

The authors have no support or funding to report.