Topic Highlight
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World J Orthop. Apr 18, 2014; 5(2): 89-93
Published online Apr 18, 2014. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v5.i2.89
Research in spinal surgery: Evaluation and practice of evidence-based medicine
Mark E Oppenlander, Christopher M Maulucci, George M Ghobrial, James S Harrop
Mark E Oppenlander, Christopher M Maulucci, George M Ghobrial, James S Harrop, Department of Neurological Surgery, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA 19107, United States
Mark E Oppenlander, Division of Neurological Surgery, Barrow Neurological Institute, St. Joseph Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ 85003, United States
Author contributions: Oppenlander ME designed the research, contributed to data review, drafted the paper; Maulucci CM and Ghobrial GM contributed to data review and drafting of paper; Harrop JS was the consultant supervisor, contributed to review and approval of paper.
Correspondence to: James S Harrop, MD, Professor of Neurological Surgery, Department of Neurological Surgery, Thomas Jefferson University, 909 Walnut Street Second Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107, United States.
Telephone: +1-215-9557959 Fax: +1-215-5037007
Received: September 29, 2013
Revised: December 19, 2013
Accepted: January 13, 2014
Published online: April 18, 2014
Core Tip

Core tip: This paper highlights the intricacies of spinal research. The difficulties of conducting high quality research in spinal surgery are discussed, but the tools for success are outlined. Specifically, the tenets of implementing evidence-based research are provided, along with a discussion of validated outcome measures which will increase the quality of a given study design. Importantly, the randomized controlled trial should not always be considered the best study design for a given research question, and observational cohort studies may be more appropriate in certain circumstances. Ultimately, spinal surgeons are responsible for evidence-based research to justify treatment paradigms.