Selecting Trustworthy Papers

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Excerpt

It goes without saying that plastic surgeons need solid anatomical knowledge. Surgeons without anatomy are similar to the moles that dig mole hills in the dark.1 Not every plastic surgeon has the opportunity to dissect cadavers. Of course, participating in a workshop with hands-on dissection cannot guarantee true learning. In any patient, most of us learn anatomy from published journal articles or book chapters. Given that the number of papers which describe the surgical anatomy of the face is growing, surgeons have to try to identify the papers that are most trustworthy and applicable.
And which anatomy papers are trustworthy and applicable? It is difficult to distinguish papers written just to meet publication requirements from the true gems, readers should open their eyes wide to distinguish the weeds from the wheat (Fig. 1). Papers that have not cited previous papers on similar topics (similar article not cited)2 and insist on their originality should be filtered out in the review process; however, sometimes appear in publication. If a paper has provoked a letter to the editor, and if the authors have not responded to this letter, it can be concluded that the authors were avoiding criticism and their paper should be disregarded.
Anatomical researchers’ paper should do research provoked by their own curiosity arising from their surgical experiences or discussions with their colleagues. The structures should be located using topography relative to anatomical landmarks. Anatomic landmark is a morphologic feature of the anatomy that is readily recognizable and may be used as a reference point for other body features.3 Structures should be demonstrated in layer-by-layer dissections along the surgical plane same as real operation field. Additionally, the depth of the structure should be displayed using histology or tomography.4 Since facial appearance varies in people of different ethnic origins, transracial anatomy may also be needed.
Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of the facial anatomy are encouraged. Through systematic reviews, readers can see the whole picture and cannot be shifted to a biased perspective. A well-written systematic review should be helpful for selecting trustworthy and applicable papers, removing the weeds from the wheat.
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