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Deepak M. Gupta MD, Nicholas J. Panetta MD, Michael T. Longaker MD, MBA Stanford, CA
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.asj.2009.01.007 147-149 First published online: 1 March 2009

The current study by Chang et al is a commendable effort to clarify the state of evidence-based medicine (EBM) in aesthetic surgery practice during the last 10 years. Congruent with the expansion of aesthetic surgery publications identified by the authors, the results of several literature searches conducted during the composition of this commentary allow this conclusion to be broadened. These searches revealed that the rate of biomedical literature publication as a whole is increasing. Since 1950, this rate has increased approximately 3.5% annually on average; over the last 10 years, the increase has been approximately 4.8%.

More specifically and relevantly, literature related to “surgery” seems to be expanding at a rate somewhere between 4.0% and 5.2% per annum since 1950. The rate of publication of literature specifically related to “plastic surgery” or “reconstruction” has been trending upwards between 4.3% and 10.2% per year since 1950, with higher compounding rates within the last decade. These numbers represent the total number of reports in these areas, including all levels of evidence as outlined by Chang et al. In 2005 alone, more than 100,000 reports were recorded with the keyword “surgery” and more than 3000 published papers related to “plastic surgery.” Taken at face value, these numbers represent encouraging progress towards placing increased emphasis on the incorporation of the “science of surgery” into patient care. However, as cogently argued by Chang et al, this dramatic increase in the …

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