Database studies: an increasing trend in the United States orthopaedic literature

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Background:There has been a recent increase in the number of orthopaedic publications using large-scale databases. The purpose of this study was to examine current database publication trends in the United States orthopaedic literature. In addition, we briefly discuss the strengths and limitations of the most utilized databases.Methods:PubMed was queried, and all abstracts and text were screened by two authors to insure that they reported on an orthopaedic topic using database findings. Studies from international databases, single-center databases, specialty-specific registries, and review articles were excluded. Annual and subspecialty trends were analyzed using Spearman correlation. Significance was set at P<0.05.Results:Our initial search yielded 1080 articles, of which 306 met inclusion criteria. There was a significant increase in the number of database studies published from 2004 to 2014, and an almost two-fold increase in the number of published studies from 2013 to 2014. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Spine (Phila Pa 1976), and Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research had the most database publications over the period examined. Spine, joints, and sports subspecialties published the most database studies.Conclusions:There has been a large increase in the number of database studies published in United States orthopaedic literature, with the most dramatic increase observed between 2013 and 2014. Understanding the general strengths and limitations of these databases, as well as the differences between the various types of databases, is essential to fully understand this medium of orthopaedic research.

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