Are We Measuring What Really Counts?
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Most published clinical research is faulty because of many reasons, one being faulty design. A remedy to this problem is the correct use of the PICOT (Population, Intervention, Comparative Intervention, Outcome and Time horizon) format in the design of a clinical research question. One element of the PICOT format, "Outcome" has not been assessed adequately in aesthetic surgery. In this review, we found that in the last decade of all randomized controlled trials and comparative studies published in Aesthetic Surgery Journal, only about half specified a primary outcome. Regrettably only 40% reported both a primary outcome and justification for choosing this outcome. This poses a credibility issue with the conclusions of the majority of published studies. There is an urgent need to develop critical outcome sets (COS) for aesthetic procedures to be used by future investigators. With such a COS we will be able to pool the results of multiple studies on the same subject and reach conclusive results.
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