Application of the STROBE statement to the hypospadias literature: Report of the international pediatric urology task force on hypospadias
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INTRODUCTION: Observational studies, particularly case series, represent the majority of the current hypospadias research. As a result, this literature lacks standardization of surgical techniques, uniform definitions of hypospadias complications, and consistency of outcome reporting, which may make it difficult to compare results across studies. A modified version of the STROBE statement, containing 20 items, was presented at the International Pediatric Urology Task Force on Hypospadias meeting to assist with clear and transparent reporting of hypospadias studies. The adoption and implementation of this modified tool will allow investigators and health care providers to critically evaluate quality and identify bias within the literature. In addition this instrument will ensure consistency of reporting, improving objective comparisons between studies, unification of results, and development of evidence-based clinical guidelines. METHODS: In this article, we have applied the modified STROBE statement to the hypospadias literature, aiming to create a guide on study reporting for pediatric urologists, and ultimately improve the quality of research in our field. We present itemized recommendations for adequate reporting of hypospadias studies and case series, ranging from drafting the abstract to addressing biases and potential sources of confounding. Included with each item is a brief explanation of its importance and potential effect on the study, as well as pertinent examples of hypospadias articles. RESULTS: A modified STROBE summary table containing 20 items is presented in (Supplementary Table 1). CONCLUSIONS: If properly conducted and reported, hypospadias studies have the potential to provide useful information to clinicians and surgeons. However, authors should recognize the inherent limitations of these observational studies, especially in the form of bias, which may introduce invalid data or limit generalizability. Thus, we expect that the use of this guiding tool will not only improve transparency of hypospadias reporting, but also improve its methodological quality, allowing proper comparison and interpretation of data across different institutions.
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