Robotic-assisted versus standard unicompartmental knee arthroplasty—evaluation of manuscript conflict of interests, funding, scientific quality and bibliometrics
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Robotic-assisted unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA) has gained popularity over the last decade claiming enhanced surgical precision and better joint kinematics, with peer-reviewed publications about this new technology also increasing over the past few years. The purpose of our study was to compare manuscripts about robotic-assisted UKA to those about standard UKA in terms of industry funding, author conflict of interest, scientific quality, and bibliometrics.
A systematic search using PRISMA guidelines on PubMed and Google Scholar from 2012 to 2016 resulted in 45 papers where robotic technology was performed for UKA and 167 papers that UKA were performed without the assistance of a robot. Between the two groups, we compared (1) rate of manuscripts with reported conflict of interest or industry funding, (2) journal impact factor, (3) level of evidence, and (4) relative citation ratio.
Fifty-one percent (23/45) of robotic UKA manuscripts were industry-funded or had authors with financial conflict of interest, compared to 29% ([49/167], p < 0.01) of non-robotic UKA papers. Significantly more robotic UKA papers (24% [11/45] vs 9% [16/167), p < 0.01) were published in journals that were not assigned an impact factor by the Journal Citations Report. There was no difference in regard to bibliometrics or level of evidence.
Manuscripts in which UKA was performed with the assistance of a robot were more likely to be industry funded or be written by authors with financial conflicts of interest and published in less prestigious journals. There were no differences in scientific quality or influence between the two groups. Readers analyzing published data should be aware of the potential conflicts of interests in order to more accurately interpret manuscripts data and conclusions.
KeywordsConflict of interest Funding Financial disclosure Unicompartmental knee arthroplasty Robotics Level of evidence Medical ethics, bibliometrics
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
Dr. Cavinatto has nothing to disclose.
Dr. Bronson reports being member of the editorial board of the Journal of Arthroplasty and board member of the Arthritis Foundation.
Dr. Chen reports personal fees from Monogram Orthopedics, outside the submitted work.
Dr. Moucha reports personal fees from 3 M, personal fees from Biocomposites, outside the submitted work.
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