Clinical research (CR) is a natural corollary to clinical surgery. It gives an investigator the opportunity to critically review their results and develop new strategies. This article covers the critical factors and the important components of a successful CR program. The first and most important step is to build a dedicated research team to overcome time constraints and enable a surgical practice to make CR a priority. With the research team in place, the next step is to create a program on the basis of an original idea and new clinical hypotheses. This often comes from personal experience supported by a review of the available evidence. Randomized controlled (clinical) trials are the most stringent way of determining whether a cause-effect relationship exists between the intervention and the outcome. In the proper setting, translational research may offer additional avenues allowing clinical application of basic science discoveries.