Deborah J Verran, MBChB, MHSM, FRACS
In today's era of ever-increasing scientific publications, it's natural for surgeons to question the value of yet another surgical journal. However, allow me just 10 minutes of your time to explain. How often have you encountered an unusual, rare, or complex case in your practice? And how often have you struggled to find sufficient information on similar cases to satisfy your curiosity about how other surgeons approached those cases, particularly regarding complications? This is where the publication of case reports, along with case series, remains relevant in the era of evidence-based medicine. Beyond their scientific significance, case reports also hold educational value, provide an avenue for aspiring researchers to gain publication experience, and may attract a wider audience.
We now understand that disease patterns are continuously evolving worldwide, coupled with increased life expectancy in many countries. These developments present new challenges in surgery, such as addressing the needs of older and frailer patients. Additionally, there are the complexities associated with new diagnostic methods like genetic testing, as well as emerging therapies like cancer immunotherapy. Who could have predicted that modern immunotherapy could lead to severe pan colitis, occasionally necessitating surgery? These factors contribute to the possibility of encountering unusual clinical events and complications in daily practice.
Consider the impact of globalization and travel, where patients with uncommon conditions like acute abdominal pain from typhoid fever can present almost anywhere. This poses a challenge to surgeons who may be unfamiliar with such cases. While some of these exceptional scenarios are recognized and reported in prospective trials of new therapies, many of them arise outside of trial settings. Hence, the need for reporting through alternative avenues becomes crucial. This is especially important in the realm of surgery, where concerns have recently arisen about adverse outcomes associated with certain implantable devices, including stem cells.
Furthermore, in the era of big data, the future of publishing case reports holds emerging implications. Data mining of medical case reports is already taking place in some areas, combining online searching with manual curation. This approach can provide valuable additional information, particularly if patterns or trends of previously unrecognized adverse outcomes are identified and brought to the attention of a wider audience in a timely manner. Modern data mining techniques have the potential to integrate each case report into a comprehensive collective whole.
This underscores the importance of well-written case reports and case series, employing appropriate terminology. It is foreseeable that within the next 10 years, a comprehensive list of recommended terms and descriptors required in case reports will be developed to facilitate data mining, including the use of Artificial Intelligence methods.
On behalf of the Editorial Board, I extend a warm welcome to this new journal and invite manuscript submissions. It is worth noting that the journal follows an open-access approach, offering all the advantages that come with it. Our primary focus will be on publishing case reports, case series, and captivating images. All submitted manuscripts must comply with the provided guidelines, available on our website. Additionally, it is mandatory that all patients whose cases are reported have given prior consent for the publication of their information and related images.