Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

© 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Background: Categorising research by level of evidence (LOE) is an important evidence-based medicine initiative. Our objective was to assess the change in LOEs in plastic surgery from 2003 to 2013 and compared this with five other surgical specialties. Methods: A search for all research articles published in the top three general plastic surgery journals (ranked by impact factor) was conducted for 2003 and 2013. Articles were then labelled as LOE 1–5 and compared to other specialties. Results: Mean LOE for plastic surgery improved by 4.1 % from 3.86 (95 % confidence interval 3.81–3.91) to 3.70 (95 % confidence interval 3.64–3.74) from 2003 to 2013 respectively. All six surgical specialties improved their mean LOE (range 3.7 to 10.9 %). By mean LOE, plastic surgery continues to rank five out of six. Conclusions: Plastic surgery is tending towards higher levels of evidence at a slow pace. The specialty must continue to drive towards higher levels of evidence. Level of Evidence: Not ratable.

Original publication




Journal article


European Journal of Plastic Surgery

Publication Date





365 - 370