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Use of validated measures for plastic surgery outcomes on the rise

Article-Use of validated measures for plastic surgery outcomes on the rise

Milwaukee — A review of previous studies published in the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery reveals that over the past decade, it has become more common to use objective and validated measures for assessing the outcomes of facial plastic surgery, reports Medical News Today.

The review, conducted by researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin and the Zablocki Veteran Affairs Medical Center, in Milwaukee, covered literature published over more than a century.

The researchers looked at papers from three broad groups of outcomes studies in the field of facial plastic surgery: Patient-reported outcomes studies that focus on patient satisfaction and use a validated or corroborated quality-of-life instrument; clinical efficacy outcomes studies that measure the effectiveness of treatments and interventions using objective scales like physician reports; and actuarial or financial-outcomes studies, which analyze results relative to various cost measures.

The authors classified the instruments that were used to measure certain facial plastic surgery outcomes as either patient-reported or clinical efficacy measures. The instruments also were placed in categories according to the intervention type, whether they were independently validated and whether they were used in additional studies.

The study identified 68 separate instruments, 23 of which were classified as patient-reported and 45 as clinical efficacy (of which 35 were observer-reported and 10 were objective).

“Most patient-reported measures — 76 percent — and half of observer-reported instruments were developed in the past 10 years,” the authors write. “The rigor of validation varied widely among measures, with formal validation being most common among the patient-reported outcome measures.”

The authors conclude that using validated measures has become a more common practice for both physicians and researchers because of the increased attention on improving patient outcomes.

“The use of validated tools allows for true comparisons among different interventions or different techniques within a single intervention,” the authors write. “Such tools can also reliably assist in identifying good surgical candidates and approaches, as well as identifying patients unlikely to benefit from surgery. Finally, they can serve to help demonstrate treatment efficacy and establish legitimacy for third-party payers and government oversight bodies charged with the allocation of resources.”

The researchers note, however, that a wide range in the rigor of validation for some measures and controversy over the universal acceptance of some clinical efficacy measures still remain.

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