Harms Reporting in Systematic Reviews of the Microvascular Free Flap in Head and Neck Reconstruction

Andrew D. Wilson, Zachary Ernst, Audrey Wise, Holly Flores, Morgan Garrett, Trevor Torgerson, Tom Hamilton, Matt Vassar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: To evaluate harms reporting in systematic reviews (SRs) of microvascular free flap (MFF) in head and neck reconstruction. Data Sources: This cross-sectional analysis included searches from the following major databases from 2012 to June 1, 2022: MEDLINE (Pubmed and Ovid), Embase, Epistemonikos, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Review Methods: In a masked duplicate manner, screening was performed using Rayyan, and data were extracted using a pilot-tested Google form. A MeaSurement Tool to Assess systematic Reviews-2 (AMSTAR-2) was used to appraise the methodological quality of reviews and the corrected covered area was calculated to detect primary study overlap across all reviews. Reviews were then grouped in pairs of 2, called dyads, and the corrected covered area was calculated again for each individual dyad. Dyads with high overlap (≥50%) were further investigated for the accuracy of harms reporting. Results: Our initial search yielded 268 records, with 50 SRs meeting the inclusion criteria. A total of 46 (92%) of the included reviews demonstrated 50% or more adherence to the items assessed in our harms checklist. Our corrected covered area tool revealed 0.6% primary study overlap across all reviews, and 1 dyad with high overlap (≥50%). No statistically significant relationship was observed between the completeness of harms reporting and reviews listing harms as a primary outcome, reviews reporting adherence to Preferred Reporting Items of Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses, or a review's AMSTAR rating. Conclusion: This study identifies how harms reporting in SRs of MFF reconstruction of the head and neck can be improved and provides suggestions with the potential to mitigate the paucity in current literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755-764
Number of pages10
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • cross-sectional analysis
  • harms reporting
  • head and neck reconstruction
  • microvascular free flap
  • systematic reviews


Dive into the research topics of 'Harms Reporting in Systematic Reviews of the Microvascular Free Flap in Head and Neck Reconstruction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this