Financial conflicts of interest: An association between funding and findings in plastic surgery

Joseph Lopez, Sandra Lopez, Jessica Means, Raja Mohan, Ashwin Soni, Jacqueline Milton, Anthony P. Tufaro, James W. May, Amir Dorafshar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background: Despite a growing interest in examining the effects of industry funding on research in plastic surgery, no study to date has comprehensively examined the effects of financial conflicts of interest on publication outcomes. The authors investigated the association between financial conflicts of interest and reported study findings in plastic surgery research. Methods: The authors reviewed all entries in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Annals of Plastic Surgery, and Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive &Aesthetic Surgery from January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2012. All clinical and basic science articles were analyzed. The following article characteristics were extracted: selfreported financial conflicts of interest, sample size, level of evidence, study design, and prospectiveness. The findings reported in each abstract were blindly graded as not applicable, negative, or positive. Results: Of the 1650 abstracts that resulted from the authors' initial search, 568 fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The majority of the included articles covered breast (20.8 percent), experimental (19.7 percent), and general reconstruction (31.69 percent). Financial conflicts of interest were disclosed in only 17.6 percent of the articles. Of the total studies that met inclusion criteria, 66.2 percent were reviewed as having positive outcomes, and 33.8 percent were reviewed as having negative or not applicable results. Studies that disclosed a financial conflict of interest were 7.12 times more likely (p < 0.0001) to present a positive outcome over a negative outcome compared with studies with no financial conflict of interest. Conclusion: Investigators with a financial conflict of interest are significantly more likely to publish plastic surgery studies with a positive conclusion compared with investigators with no conflicts of interest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)690e-697e
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 27 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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