Study Design.Review.Objective.To provide practicing spine surgeons a primer with key insights for reading, interpreting, and clinically integrating systematic reviews and meta-analyses.Summary of Background Data.Evidence-based medicine (EBM) refers to a family of standardized techniques for critical appraisal of clinical research. Within the contemporary spine literature, EBM is most commonly encountered in the form of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Although these analytic techniques are potentially useful when appropriately applied to well-formulated questions with adequate primary data in the literature, the rapid and somewhat indiscriminate increase in volume of systematic reviews and meta-analyses published may be associated with an overall dilution in their quality, as well as misperceptions regarding the applicability of particular EBM studies to spine surgery in general.Methods.The collective experience of spine specialists with vested interests in advancing EBM and its utility was summarized into a primer.Results.We emphasize components that are pertinent methodologically (search strategy, study number, meta-analysis, bias, and certainty), and pertinent clinically (outcomes) to interpreting, and clinically integrating systematic reviews and meta-analyses into spine surgery practice.Conclusions.Armed with these insights into these five perspectives, we anticipate that practicing spine surgeons will be better equipped to interpret systematic reviews and meta-analyses in a fashion that will meaningfully impact their patient care.Level of Evidence: 2.
- Systematic review
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Clinical Neurology