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Ng TT, McGory ML, Ko CY, Maggard MA. Meta-analysis in Surgery: Methods and Limitations. Arch Surg. 2006;141(11):1125–1130. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/archsurg.141.11.1125
The growth of new knowledge continues to advance the surgical disciplines, and several types of literature reviews attempt to consolidate this expansion of information. Meta-analysis is one such method that integrates findings on the same subject from different studies. Within surgery, there is a wealth of literature on a given topic, which needs to be considered collectively. As such, meta-analyses have been performed to address issues like the use of bowel preparation for colorectal surgery and comparisons of outcomes for laparoscopic vs open surgical approaches. A basic understanding of the groundwork required for meta-analysis is fundamental toward interpreting and critiquing its results. This review provides an overview of the principles, application, and limitations of meta-analysis in the context of surgery.
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