Evidence-based medicine in HBP surgery: Is there any?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Evidence-based medicine (EBM) has become widely accepted as a basis for clinical decision in many fields of medicine. This review examines the specific role of EBM in hepato-biliary and pancreatic (HBP) surgery. EBM relies on four main sources, including clinical guidelines, meta-analyses, primary information and clinical experience. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) constitute the cornerstone of EBM and a recent study reported that there are relatively few RCTs evaluating the effectiveness of surgical therapies and procedures (1,530 out of 45,342 or 3.4% in five leading surgical journals) and only a few in HBP surgery. Although the effort must be to implement EBM as far as possible in HBP surgery, there are several obstacles to conducting RCTs in HBP surgery, including problems associated with standardization of surgical skills, sham-operations often impossible to perform, and the general applicability of specific findings may be uncertain.Discussion. This paper will provide two relevant examples of EBM in HBP surgery in patients with hepatic metastases and pancreatic adenocarcinoma, illustrating some problems but also the potential of introducing EBM in HBP surgery. In the future, our effort must be devoted to implementing EBM in applicable areas of HBP surgery but also remembering that in certain areas accumulated knowledge from observational studies, including drainage of abscesses and surgical treatment of intestinal obstruction, may have similar or even higher clinical value than RCTs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-200
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Gastroenterology and Hepatology


  • hepato-biliary surgery
  • liver metastases
  • Evidence-based medicine
  • pancreatic resection


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