12-14 June 2024, Wanha Satama, Helsinki

From experimental to evidence-based; Ilkka Kaartinen

Plastic surgery is a field of innovation. This creativeness has defined our specialty since its beginnings and has allured many to become practitioners of this craft. Finding the most elegant and thorough solutions in restoring form and function after illness or trauma is in the centre of thinking in reconstructive surgery. Moreover, we take pride in the fact that we operate the human body from head to toes, not merely a single organ or joint.

With diversity comes a challenge: how to prove the health-economic impact of our work? In the face of growing costs in the health care, every treatment will be scrutinized – We need to be able to show the evidence when prioritizing healthcare resources. Journals favour prospective multi-centre studies over experimental patient series. While I do not think this development completely suites our speciality (we still need papers of innovation, translational studies etc.), I do believe we could do better. The challenge is the small number of patients in many fields of plastic surgery. Take reconstructive microsurgery for instance: For appropriate numbers in prospective studies, we need collaboration between national centres, or even better, hospitals over Scandinavia, to level up from experimental to evidence-based. Anyone with an innovative idea for a multicentre study?

Let us have a chat in the SCAPLAS meeting in June!