Journal Club

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7th April – Randomized double-blind trial comparing the cosmetic outcome of cutting diathermy versus scalpel for skin incisions

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Welcome to Scalpel’s first journal club! We hope this will be the start of a series of events that helps to educate students on how to critique an academic paper, under the careful supervision of a doctor. No experience of assessing papers or being part of a journal club is necessary, just come along and learn some skills that will be essential for PEP and your future career! Below are some more details about what journal club is and how it will run:


What is a journal club? 

A journal club has been defined as an educational meeting in which a group of individuals discuss current articles, providing a forum for a collective effort to keep up with the literature.


Why should I be involved? 

There are many advantages of participating in a journal club, including keeping abreast of new knowledge, promoting awareness of current research findings, learning to critique and appraise research, becoming familiar with the best current clinical research, and encouraging research utilization. As a student, being involved in a journal club is a selling point on a surgical CV and provides an opportunity to network with like-minded students and doctors to discuss relevant issues in surgical practice and education.


Why critique research?

The overall goal of a research critique is to formulate a general evaluation of the merits of a study and to evaluate its applicability to clinical practice. A research critique goes beyond a review or summary of a study and carefully appraises a study’s strengths and limitations. The critique should reflect an objective assessment of a study’s validity and significance. A research study can be evaluated by its component parts, and a thorough research critique examines all aspects of a research study.


How will the journal club run?

Each month the Scalpel committee will select a topical surgical research paper to be discussed. The paper will be available to access and read via the UOM library and will be advertised on the Scalpel Facebook page and website a week in advance of the meeting. The meeting discussion will be facilitated by a surgical doctor with an interest in research. The meeting will be hosting online via twitter/the scalpel web page lasting 45-60mins, in this time we will discuss and critique the paper considering some of the common questions asked when critiquing a paper (see post below).


The first paper we will dicuss on the 7th of April can be accessed using the following link on the University’s network / VPN. The paper is comparing the cosmetic outcomes and associated pain when using cutting diathermy vs scalpel incision:





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Hi everyone,

Welcome to SCALPEL’s first journal club!

Tonight we are lucky enough to be joined by Dr Daniel Lewis, a Neurosurgical registrar with an interest in medical education based at Salford Royal Hospital, who will facilitate and input to the discussion.

As a means of introduction; I’m Nick, a 4th year based at Salford, before we kick things off in a couple of minutes if everyone would like to introduce themselves and include an email (so we can send you a certificate of participation) that would be great.


Following the discussion we would really appreciate if you could all fill in a short survey, I will send a link to a little later on that would really help us improve the club for next time!

Hi my name is Gaya, 3rd year medical student based at SRFT! Email:

Hi I am Judith, 3rd year medical student at SRFT

Hi, everyone. Rayko here, Y4, also at SRFT.

Hi Everyone,

Its Daniel here. As Nick said I’m currently working as a neurosurgical registrar at Salford Royal, and was glad to be asked to help run this journal club



Hi I’m Lauren a 5th year at UHSM

hi everyone I’m jim, 3rd year also at SRFT

Hi, I’m Rachel and I’m a 3rd year at MRI

Hi. I’m Tomi. Intercalating MRes Student

Just a heads up;

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I’m not sure the page will let guests post so please login if you haven’t already!

Hi I’m James, fourth year at RPH

Hey all I’m will, also 3rd year at MRI

So to get things started, what did everyone think of the paper?

Interesting but not convincing.


how come Will?

I thought the sample size was quite small – surely would have been easier to recruit more patients than that?

I agree Lauren, I think part of the selling point of the paper was that there was a larger sample size than previously but 60 still isn’t very many!

Was just wondering how much impact the variety of incisions used affected the results given that they only referred to “laparoscopic and open abdominal procedures”

The sample size seemed fine to me, assuming the power calculations were correct, since that determines the minimum subjects required for the results to be considered truly significant

Are there not lots of different types of abdominal incisions that are procedure dependant. Going back to Langer’s lines if I remember right

I do wonder how much this paper will contribute to changing surgical practice. However, it did seem to improve day 1 post op pain to some extent. Opinions?

Hi all, I’m Cedric, second year.

I agree with Tomi on the sample size issue as it was calculated (and then exceeded)

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