NYMC Faculty Publications

Bandwagons in Colorectal Surgery

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Resident/Fellow, Faculty

Journal Title

Minerva Surgery

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Surgery, like other fields of medicine, has not been spared by a number of unfortunate phenomena. Although our perception may point at recent times, some trends can actually be traced back to 1979. Cohen and Rothschild stated that even when medical progress is extraordinary, the path has too often been driven by overwhelming acceptance of popular albeit unproven ideas. These are referred to as bandwagons. Some of such ideas were eventually proven as valid, but more often were abandoned and/or replaced by new bandwagons. In the specific case of colorectal surgery, there are at least five currently ongoing bandwagons: 1) laparoscopic lavage of perforated colon; 2) laparoscopic ventral rectopexy; 3) stapled hemorrhoidopexy, also known as procedure for prolapse and hemorrhoids (PPH); 4) watch and wait; 5) transanal total mesorectal excision (taTME). Preventing bandwagons from taking off requires efforts at different levels: 1) innovators must constrain their self-interest of fame and rather recognize the need for establishing evidence to support their ideas; 2) new treatment modalities must be carefully weighed by sufficiently powered clinical trials prior to been implemented on patients; 3) the media should not mislead patients into the "best" treatment without reliable evidence; 4) physicians should keep in mind that the process of innovation in medicine is slow and disregard the temptation to accept at face value perhaps plausible, yet unproven ideas.